Cavs fall in final, again
For the second straight year, Kinston High's boys basketball team rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Cuthbertson in the the 2A state championship game.
The Vikings trailed by three entering the final frame, but outscored the Cavs 17-11 to pull out a 56-53 victory at the Dean E. Smith Center on Saturday. Kinston won last season's meeting 58-55 in Raleigh.
The Vikings wrap up their season with a 28-2 record while the Cavaliers finish 29-4.
Cuthbertson had three chances to tie the game in the final 30 seconds, but all three 3-point attempts failed, including the last by Emmitt Afam as the horn sounded.
The Cavs trailed by six (54-48) with just over two minutes to play until senior guard Justin Austin drained a triple from the left corner to cut the advantage in half.
On the next possession, senior forward Lucius McMillon scored inside to trim the lead to one (54-53).
Kinston answered on the other end when sophomore wing Brandon Ingram rebounded his own miss and layed it in for the final points of the game.
Austin and Cavs junior guard Shelton Mitchell both missed triples on the ensuing possession, forcing them to foul Kinston senior forward Denzel Keyes.
But Keyes missed both free throw attempts with 14 seconds left on the clock, giving CHS one last possession, which ended with Afam's missed three from the right wing.
Mitchell finished with a game-high 22 points on 9-of-22 shooting to lead the Cavs. The Wake Forest commit was named the team's Most Outstanding Player following Saturday's game.
Senior forward Isiah Cureton added nine points for Cuthbertson, which also got eight points and seven rebounds from Austin off the bench
Afam added seven points, seven rebounds and three assists for CHS.
Keyes paced Kinston with 18 points (8-for-14 from the field) and a game-high 10 rebounds on his way to being named MVP.
The Vikings also got 12 points apiece from Ingram and senior guard Josh Dawson, who added seven rebounds and five assists. Cuthbertson led after each of the first three quarters 12-9 after the first, 27-23 at halftime and 42-39 at three quarters.
Neither team shot well from 3-point range. Cuthbertson was just 3-of-15 from behind the arc and Kinston was 2-for-13.
Mitchell, a Wake Forest commitment, finished 0-for-6 from 3-point range.