2018 1A Dual Team Wrestling: Rosewood holds off Robbinsville for Eagles' third DT Championship

Rosewood battled back from an early 9-0 deficit to knock off defending 1A Champions, Robbinsville, in the 2018 NCHSAA Dual Team Wrestling State Championship. Joey Behrend was named the match MVP for his performance at 160 pounds, pinning Colton Phillips with 36.7 seconds remaining in the second period. The pin sealed the third Dual Team State Championship for the Eagles.

Wess Hooper led off the match with a bang for the Knights, pinning Rosewood's David Brown with 1:08 to go in the second period. Fredy Romero followed that with a 9-3 decision win over Blake Jarman to put Robbinsville in front 9-0 through two of the event's fourteen bouts.

Rosewood finally got on the board in the 285-pound division as Nyterrius Williams won by forfeit with no wrestlers eligible for Robbinsville, trimming the lead to 9-6. Christian Decatur gave the Eagles their first lead at 106 pounds as he pinned Luke Wilson with 1:04 remaining in the first which gave Rosewood a 12-9 advantage.

After a forfeit at 113 pounds that briefly put Robbinsville back up front, Timothy Decatur stepped into the circle for his 120 pound bout with Braden Millsaps. Timothy Decatur dominated Millsaps, reeling off 17 unanswered points to win by technical fall and put the Eagles up 17-15. Tanner Smith also won by technical fall at 145 for Rosewood, besting Christian Queen.

Collin Pendergraph won the 170 pound division by pin for Rosewood, ending the bout against Austin Lovin with 1:39 remaining in the first period. That victory came with the match in hand and put Rosewood on top 41-21. 

Jordan Todd won a major decision victory over Cooper Cable, shutting Cable out 14-0 in the 138 pound bout. Reid Amodeo was the lone decision winner for Rosewood, knocking out Nathan Fisher in a tightly contested 3-2 bout at 126 pounds.

2018 2A Dual Team Wrestling: West Lincoln runs away from Croatan 54-16

West Lincoln ripped off three straight first period pin wins in the early portion of their 2A Dual Team Championship match against Croatan, running out to a 24-4 lead through five bouts, on their way to a dominating 54-16 win over the Cougars. Rebels grappler Keaton Norman was named the match MVP, opening the match with a pin victory over Colton Sullivan at 138 pounds. Norman set the tone early for West Lincoln, pouncing on the opportunity for a pin victory with just 21 seconds gone in the opening bout.

After a major decision win by Croatan's Justin Jolin narrowed the score to 6-4, the Rebels saw Nathan Hull (152), Canon Bridges (160) and Hayden Thomas (170) all pin their opponents in the first period of their respective matches, stretching the lead out to 24-4. The three pins pushed the Rebels on their way to their third State Dual Team Championship and their first since 2015.

Croatan battled back in the heaviest four divisions. Walker Gladwell stopped the 18-0 run with his 17-10 decision over Luke Scronce at 182 pounds. Kyle Kort gave the Cougars a little more momentum with an 8-2 decision over Alex Hall, cutting the West Lincoln lead to 24-10. Tyger Hall narrowly missed a major decision, winning 11-4 at 220 pounds as Harley Scronce scrapped to get a late point in the match. 

The heavyweight battle between Croatan's Nathan Waltrip and West Lincoln's Brock Steele was the match's most competitive bout. The two wrestlers each earned one escape point through the match's first three periods, forcing overtime. Neither grappler managed to strike in the sudden victory period and each managed to escape in the two :30 second overtime periods forcing the bout to the ultimate tiebreaker. Waltrip managed to nab a 2-point takedown and claim a 4-2 win in the Ultimate Tiebreaker, bringing the Cougars within eight at 24-16.

West Lincoln put the foot on the gas after the heavyweight bout with Langston Hoffman (106), Luke Stewart (113), Ricky Reynolds (120), Chance Norman (126) and Xander Pendergrass (132) all winning their respective matches by pin. Stewart's pin of Luke Walker with 1:18 remaining in the second period clinched the title for the Rebels.

2018 3A Dual Team Wrestling: Piedmont bests Orange for second straight title

For the second consecutive year the Piedmont Panthers knocked off Orange in the 3A Dual Team Wrestling State Championship, winning this year's match by a 33-31 count. Piedmont's Luis Oropesa took home MVP honors for his decision victory over Daylen Alston in the heavyweight bout as Oropesa outscored Alston 9-6.

Oropesa's win stopped a string of 10 unanswered points for Orange and put Piedmont in the score column for the first time on the night. His victory started a string of seven straight wins for Piedmont wrestlers on their way to the school's third Dual Team State Championship and second consecutive title.

Orange jumped on top early, claiming a pin victory in the opening bout of the match followed by a major decision victory. Josiah Ramirez pinned Travis Murphy with 1:31 remaining in the second period to get Orange out to a 6-0 lead after the 195 pound bout. His teammate Brandon Homsey followed that up with a 17-9 major decision victory over James Price at 220. 

Kylan Thomas sealed the title for Piedmont, pinning Mario Manduiano with 1:38 remaining in the third period of the 152 pound bout, lifting Piedmont to an insurmountable 33-13 lead with just three division remaining. Tripp Collins (106) and Mason Fisher (138) also won by pin for Piedmont. Collins tapped down Kessell Summers with just one second remaining in the second period. Fisher bested Michael Phillips with 26 seconds to go in the first period. 

Bailey Wicker (113), Nathan Huntley (120), Angelo Gilvary (126) and Colby Funderburk (132) all won by decision for Piedmont. Levi Anderson (145) was the lone decision victory for Orange. 

2018 4A Dual Team Wrestling: Cary holds off West Forsyth 38-32 to win ninth DT Crown

The Cary Imps claimed their ninth ever Dual Team Wrestling State Championship with a thrilling 38-32 victory over the two-time defending champions, West Forsyth, in the 4A Dual Team Wrestling State Championship. Cary's Conrad Shiess was the match MVP, winning the match's final bout by pinning Kyle Perkins with 1:10 remaining in the first period to win the 132 pound division and the title.

The match was tightly contested through all 14 weightclasses, but the Imps only trailed once following Tyler O'Neal's pin victory over Wesley Alexander at 160 gave West Forsyth a breif 10-9 lead through four bouts. 

Cymek Shaw pinned Eli Muckelvene in the 138 pound match, giving the Imps a 6-0 lead right out of the chute. Paul Grena followed that victory with a 4-2 overtime decision over Andres Perez, boosting the Cary lead to 9-0.

West Forsyth's Preston Broadus toppled the building momentum, earning a 12-3 major decision victory over Marlon Toruno at 152 pounds, trimming the lead to 9-4. 

Cary answered back with a short run of success as Ryan Wolfram dominated Jordan Aladwan 24-8 in the 170 pound bout, winning by technical fall and pushing the Imps back in front 14-10. Wolfram's teammate Nick Straight followed that performance with a pin victory over Gus Smith, tacking Smith to the mat with 22 seconds remaining in the first and extending the Cary lead to 20-10. 

Cary got pin wins from Devin Vann at 220 and Kobe Early at 113 to keep the pressure on the Titans in the match's late stages. Vann pinned Evan Andrews with 1:42 remaining in the first while Early got the best of Sam Reavis with 1:06to go in the opening period. Early's victory put the Imps up 32-23 with just three bouts remaining. 

The two-time defending 4A Dual Team Champions, West Forsyth, responded in the 120 and 126 pound bouts, evening the score at 32 following a pin victory for Evon LaBella at 120 and Ethan Wright's gutty 4-3 decision victory in the ultimate tiebreaker period, setting up a winner-take-all match at 132 between Shiess and Perkins.

 

No. 4 Duke Falls to St. John's, 81-77

 

NEW YORK -- Shamorie Ponds scored 33 points and St. John's stunned No. 4 Duke 81-77 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, snapping an 11-game losing streak and handing the suddenly suspect Blue Devils their second loss in eight days.

Bashir Ahmed added 19 points and Tariq Owens had 17 for the Red Storm (11-13), who overcame an early 10-point deficit and fought off Duke's heralded freshmen down the stretch in their biggest win under third-year coach Chris Mullin.

St. John's was playing the second of three straight games against top-6 opponents in a span of nine days. Next up, a visit to No. 1 Villanova on Wednesday night.

Gary Trent Jr. had 22 points for the Blue Devils (19-4), who perhaps got caught looking ahead to their first matchup of the season with bitter rival North Carolina on Thursday night. Freshman sensation Marvin Bagley III scored 19 but sat out a significant chunk of the second half with four fouls.

Outhustled all afternoon, Duke was coming off an easy win over Notre Dame that followed a disappointing 65-63 loss to No. 2 Virginia at home last weekend.

Winless in 11 Big East games this season, the Red Storm improved to 11-2 in nonconference play. They led by 11 with 6 1/2 minutes left before Duke stormed back and took a 73-72 advantage on Trent's two free throws with 1:35 to play, its first lead since early in the second half.

Fans of both schools were on their feet in the final minute.

Ponds, who also grabbed seven rebounds in his second consecutive 30-point game, put St. John's back in front with a driving layup and drained a 3-pointer from the corner to make it 77-73 with 40 seconds left.

Grayson Allen's only 3 seconds later trimmed the margin to one, but Owens hit two free throws with 32.2 seconds to go.

Bagley made one of two foul shots with 20.4 seconds left and Ponds did the same to make it 80-77 with 17.5 seconds to go. Allen missed a 3 at the other end and Owens grabbed the rebound before sinking one of two free throws with 2.7 seconds remaining to seal it as Ponds waved his arms, spurring on the sellout crowd of 19,812.

It was the first meeting between the teams since Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski got his 1,000th career win with a 77-68 victory at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 25, 2015.

BIG PICTURE

Duke: Fell to 34-19 at the Garden, including 29-11 under Coach K. ... The Blue Devils will be back in New York City next month for the ACC Tournament across the river at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. ... Duke leads the all-time series 16-7.

St. John's: After three losses this season to top-10 opponents, the Red Storm finally broke through. They have played the fifth-toughest schedule in the country this season according to the NCAA, the school said.

FIVE STAR

The matchup between two of the top-10 winningest programs in Division I history was played in tribute to the late Howard Garfinkel, who ran the famous Five-Star Basketball Camp from 1966-2008, attracting many of the game's greatest players before they blossomed in college. The logo at center court read "The Garf."

UP NEXT

Duke: Plays at North Carolina on Thursday night, the first of two regular-season meetings between the longtime rivals.

St. John's: In their first meeting with top-ranked Villanova this season, the Red Storm lost 78-71 on Jan. 13 at Madison Square Garden.

 

Tar Heels Run Past Pitt, 96-65

CHAPEL HILL—North Carolina finally got its offense — and maybe its confidence — going again.

Luke Maye scored 26 points to help the 19th-ranked Tar Heels beat Pittsburgh 96-65 on Saturday night, ending their first three-game losing streak in four years.

"Our guys around here, you lose a couple and the kids start feeling the pressure because they're such good kids," UNC coach Roy Williams said.

The response was a positive, if for no other reason than the Tar Heels (17-7, 6-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) had a relatively stress-free night while matching their best scoring output in league play.

The Tar Heels also shot 51 percent, made 11 3-pointers and dominated the boards (47-28) en route to 22 second-chance points. Maye led six players in double figures, including junior Kenny Williams, who had his best scoring night after several rough games. And Theo Pinson (13 rebounds, eight assists) played a strong floor game.

In short, they made things look routine against a team that's yet to win an ACC game.

"We needed tonight," Pinson said.

UNC found itself in a close game late in the first half before blowing it open with a big run spanning halftime.

Graduate transfer Cameron Johnson scored eight points against his former team in UNC's 14-3 half-ending flurry, which grew to 25-5 when Joel Berry II hit his fourth 3-pointer for a 56-37 lead with 16:48 left.

Freshman Marcus Carr scored 22 points for the Panthers (8-16, 0-11), who hit eight first-half 3s to hang around but made 2 of 16 after halftime as the Tar Heels' lead ballooned.

That sent Pitt to its 11th straight loss, the longest skid in program history.

"They played well obviously," Panthers coach Kevin Stallings said. "I didn't think that we did so much, but certainly you have to give them credit. It probably wasn't the most ideal time to catch them."


BIG PICTURE
Pittsburgh: 
Things keep getting worse for the Panthers. They entered Chapel Hill ranked last in the league in major categories such as scoring offense, shooting percentage, rebounding margin and turnover margin. Now they've lost 15 straight regular-season ACC games and are approaching a year since their last win.

"Maybe I'll feel a little differently when I see the film," Stallings said. "But I think we can play better than that."

UNC: The Tar Heels were facing the possibility of their first four-game losing streak since February 2010, the only one of the Roy Williams era. And the past week in particular had been bumpy: There was an overtime home loss to North Carolina State last weekend and a loss at No. 20 Clemson on Tuesday. This win — a get-right cruise in front of a friendly crowd — might have helped drain a bit of building tension.


FAMILIARITY
Pitt initially blocked Johnson's attempt to move to UNC with immediate eligibility, citing an internal policy, before relenting last summer. He finished with 14 points.

"I tried not to look at this game any different, you know what I mean?" Johnson said. "Obviously you're going to feel some things when you play against your former team. I spent three years there, I grew up in Pittsburgh, my dad played at Pitt, my mom went to nursing school there, and my brother is still doing research for the university, so obviously I have a pretty strong connection there."

Stallings deflected questions afterward about Johnson.

"I don't like to comment on other people's players," he said. "Ask Roy about how he played. I couldn't tell you. I was worried about my guys."


WILLIAMS' JUMPER
Kenny Williams scored 15 points on 6-for-9 shooting, including 3 of 5 from behind the arc. He had failed to reach double figures in five of the past six games.

"I wasn't thinking about the shots," he said. "I was just stepping into it and doing everything that I've worked on."
11th straight loss, the longest skid in program history.



UP NEXT
Pittsburgh: 
The Panthers visit No. 20 Clemson on Thursday.
UNC: The Tar Heels host No. 4 Duke on Thursday night in the latest renewal of the fierce rivalry.