Riverside Lady Knights point guard Jalyn Brown took over the game Friday and was able to almost single handily defeat the Tarboro Lady Vikings in the Edgecombe County Holiday Christmas tournament championship game. Brown scored 26 points and had nine assist, which earned her the tournament MVP honors. The Knights went on to defeat the Vikings 57-37.
Brown scored 45 points in two games and had 19 assist.
Tarboro head coach Jamie Willoughby started the game with a box in one defense and had A'Jah Williams playing on Brown. The defense wasn't as effective as Willoughby had intended on it being so she changed defenses and the same outcome happened. Nobody for Tarboro could stop Brown. She penetrated to the basket and scored on lay-ups or if that wasn't there she found an open teammate who would score.
"At the rate she (Jalyn Brown) was going, she was going to beat us by herself," Tarboro head coach Jamie Willoughby said. "I wanted to find something that would slow her down and help us defensively to get some stops. We couldn't do much with her – she had a great game."
Tarboro wasn't able to get any offensive rhythm going. They were plagued with turnovers once again. Tarboro committed 32 turnovers which led to 20 Knights points. The Vikings defense did force the Knights to turn it over 26 times, but Tarboro couldn't capitalize on the Knights miscues.
"I was afraid we were going to come out like that, because during our shot around earlier in the day it wasn't very good and it carried over into the game," Willoughby said. "I just don't know why that happened. Especially the way we had been playing as of late."
Brown led the Knights in the first quarter and helped them jump out to an early lead. She scored eight points in the quarter and helped close out the quarter on an 8-0 run where she scored three baskets and had an assist. Riverside led 19-8 after one.
The same thing happened in the second quarter. The Knights put a 6-0 mini run together and forced Willoughby to take a time out with 6:41 left before halftime.
"I told them to settle down," Willoughby said. "I wanted them to understand that they were doing the same thing we knew they were going to be doing. We had prepared for that. It looked like it didn't really help though."
Vikings center Lisa Jones scored a basket out of the timeout, which ended up being just two of the Vikings total five points scored in the quarter. Williams added a free throw and a layup. Tarboro trailed 34-13 at the half.
Tarboro came out with a little more intensity in the third quarter. They went on a 5-2 run, but the Knights answered right back and scored two quick baskets. Williams then hit a pair of free throws, and then Brown scored two straight baskets, before Jones closed out the quarter for the Vikings with a layup as time expired. Riverside led 44-22 at the end of three.
Tarboro put an 8-0 run together to start the fourth quarter, behind two Kharlil Perry baskets and a basket apiece by Shayla Thorne and Carmen Guilford. That run forced the Knights to take a timeout. The Knights scored a basket out of the timeout. Thorne then hit a jumper. Brown took control then and scored on two straight possessions. The Vikings could never gain enough momentum to close the gap as the Knights celebrated the championship win.
The Vikings were led by Perry who scored seven points, while Quadasha Ruffin added six and Jones chipped in five.
Williams and Perry both made the All-Tournament team for the Vikings.
Tarboro had been playing up to their expectations as of late, but they fell apart Friday. Willoughby hopes that they can get back to work heading back into conference action and regain their composure and play the way they had been playing.
Tarboro’s defense had been forcing massive amounts of turnovers coming into the game. They had also been controlling the ball and not turning it over. They will have to get back to what has been working.
Tarboro travels to Greene Central Friday.