The Compass Wednesday, Marcn4, 1998 TT
J.C. Smith knocks
Vikes out of tourney
by Jemayne King
ECSU's big hopes for a champion
ship season came down to one season-
The score was 86-84 in the last sec
onds of the game against Johnson C.
Smith, and ECSU's Ryan Taylor
stepped up to take the shot. If he made
the shot, it would have tied the game
and forced an overtime period.
Unfortunately, Taylor's shot missed.
Johnson C. Smith won the Feb. 26 game
and knocked the Vikes out of the tour
"The whole experience was very
emotional," said Herb Lewis, a Viking
shooting guard. The team had high ex
pectations this year, said Lewis, add
ing "maybe it wasn't the Lord's will
for us to win that tournament."
Lewis admitted that the team lacked
"mental drive" for that game.
"We fought the whole game and
played like the underdog," added
Lewis, but he felt the team lacked the
necessary intensity. "When the team
finally responded, it was too late."
Lewis said the experience has taught
him to approach the next CIAA game
differently. "It's do or die. If you play
lax you go home."
Assistant Viking Coach Rodney
Robinson said the team "came out ten
tative," adding that in this type of situ
ation, players have to be on top of the
"And Johnson C. Smith was on top
of their game. They had some mature
players who stepped up."
Robinson said the season was suc
cessful despite the painful loss because
ECSU had "great support and a strong
The Vikings rallied from a seven-
point deficit to tie the game in under
five minutes but were never able to
take the lead. All CIAA selection
Marcuis Wright hit nine of 11 free
throws, most of them coming down
the stretch, to hold off ECSU's late game
"Christopher Reese provided a nice
offensive game," said Golden Bulls
Coach Steve Joyner, "while Marcuis
Wright provided senior leadership."
ECSU Head Coach Barry Hamler
praised the Viking team for their full-
"Jofmson C. Smith turned the ball
over 23 times while we turned it over
nine times," he said. "That's the first
time I can remember that happening
with us being on the losing end of the
Hamler said he was surprised by the
final rebounding edge "because I
ECSU's Herb Lewis (center) tips off in the
thought we were much bigger inside."
Johnson C. Smith held a 42-34 re
bounding advantage. Smith's Lemans
Shingler led the charge with 11 re
Johnson C. Smith advanced all the
way to the championship final but lost
65-94 to Virginia Union.
In other CIAA tournament
quarterfinal games, last place
Livingstone College continued its re
markable run through the tournament
by upsetting N.C. Central 84-82 in over
Franklin Scoll. Jr. photo
Feb. 10 game against N.C. Central Univer-
time. One day after winning its first
ever tournament game, Livingstone (5-
21) got 29 points from Chanta Weath
ers to shock N.C. Central (18-8).
The hometown Winston Salem-State
Rams closed the final three minutes on
a 12-2 win to upset the defending CIAA
Tournament champions, St. Augustine
Larry Patterson scored 28 points to
pace the Rams, who were 14-13. Lafonte
Moses scored 22 points for St.
Augustine, who won the Western Di
vision regular season championship.
CIAA Tournament a time of pride, nostalgia,
and the opportunity to party all night long
by Jemayne King
For Shirley Jones, who describes her
self as a retired "30-year employee of
ECSU," the annual CIAA Tournament
in Winston-Salem is more than a game;
it's a ritual that offers her the opportu
nity to see old friends and reconnect
with her past.
"The games bring forth good will
even if one's favorite team fails to win,"
said Jones, after ECSU's recent loss to
Johnson C. Smith.
Jones believes the tournament has
lost some luster over the years because
schools like Hampton University,
North Carolina A & T and Norfolk State
University no longer participate.
"But the tournament still has a very
large following," she added.
For me, the game was an opportu
nity to meet with friends who attend
other CIAA schools, a time to take pride
in my own school, and also an oppor
tunity to sharpen my skills as a sports
Many people regard the Atlantic
Coast Conference as the premier colle
giate league in the country. Fans gather
from all over the East Coast to sport
their Izod golf shirts or sweaters, or
team sweats, but they don't hold a
candle to the CIAA. The pinstripe suits,
the mink coats, the AUigator shoes, and
the all-night post-game parties are just
some of the scenes you are bound to
run into in the basketball Mecca known
as Winston-Salem. When the CIAA
comes to town everybody knows it.
When I was growing up in Virginia
it was not unusual to have teachers
"up and leave" school during the last
week in February. It was almost a yearly
ritual. ECSU's loss in the CIAA Tour
nament hurts just a little bit, but hav
ing Virginia Union (of all teams) win
the whole thing hurts a lot worse when
over a third of your High School gradu
ating class calls Union's hallowed halls
home. Bragging rights will surely be
long to one particular friend who I have
never known to miss an opportunity
to "big up" her school during school
Even though the tournament did not
give Viking fans much to root about,
the opportunity to fraternize with stu
dents of other colleges and universi
ties is a valuable experience that may
generate lifetime memories. "Nothing
could be finer than the CIAA experi
ence in Winston-Salem North Caro
CIAA basketball may even have a
larger following than CIAA football.
Mostly because the game of basketball
is easier to understand form the aver
age fans prospective than the often time
complicated game of football. Also, fe
male fans who may not be familiar with
nuances from the game can identify
more with a basketball player wearing
shorts and running up and down an
inside playing arena than a helmeted
football player running around an out
door playing field in 43 degree weather.
Either way one must admit that the
two chief revenue sports make a lot of
things happen all around the CIAA
whether it's in the classroom, the neigh
boring commimity or the financial aid
On thing overall is important. The
Central Intercollegiate Athletic Asso
ciation has been ,and always will be,
based on sportsmanship, fellowship
and brotherly love. Maybe the tourna
ment should be held in Phitedeiphia?- • •