Five-man Vanguards downed by Pitt Community

Dec. 11, 2013 @ 11:21 PM

Michael Woody expected “growing pains” when he took the job at Vance-Granville. But the first-year Vanguards head coach didn’t know just how unpleasant they would be.

Vance-Granville has seen its roster shrink from 14 players to five.

The Vanguards dropped to 0-10 Wednesday with a 119-60 loss at home to Pitt Community College.

Vance-Granville did have a win over the St. Andrews University junior varsity squad, but had to vacate it due to an academically ineligible player.

Woody isn’t wiving the white flag.

“This year is growing pains,” said Woody. “I expected it coming in. I didn’t think it would be as painful as it has been, but we kind of expected that. Next season will be totally different.”

Vance-Granville has been playing with only five players since the third game of the season.

The Vanguards have been shorthanded before. The National Junior College Athletic Association team was ineligible to play a Division II Region X schedule in 2012-2013 as a penalty resulting from canceling its 2011-2012 season midway through the campaign due to a lack of players.

Woody said some of the players no longer with the team this season are academically ineligible and a “couple” of them quit. He expects to get one more player in January and potentially add two more that are already enrolled at Vance-Granville.

“The five guys I have that are playing are giving it their all and I really do appreciate that,” said Woody. “A lot of the kids just didn’t realize what college basketball is all about. Everybody thinks they want to play until they get out here and start.”

Pitt started Wednesday as one might expect from a team that has the edge in every facet of the game, especially numbers. The blue-clad Bulldogs jumped out to a 25-6 advantage less than seven minutes in and led 68-23 at halftime.

Christian Creswell, a 6-foot-6 freshman by way of Shelby’s Crest High School, led the Vanguards with 19 points.

“He’s a bona fide college player,” said Woody. “Christian will go on to the next level provided he continues to improve, which I think he will.”
Jarrett Ballard had 17 points for Vance-Granville, which shot 36 percent from the field, and Ronald Evans finished with 12 points.

Pitt had five players in double-figure scoring and 37 bench points. The Bulldogs knocked down eight 3-pointers and were led by Demetrio Irby and DeMarkus Forbes, who each had 21 points.

Vance-Granville has one game left this semester, at Catawba Valley Community College on Saturday. That’s where Woody served as an assistant coach last season, helping guide the Buccaneers to a 21-11 record.

Woody served as Catawba Valley’s primary recruiter and he’s confident he can get the Vanguards’ program headed in the right direction.

“I think we can get the right player up here,” said Woody. “It’s just a matter of me and my assistant coaches getting the opportunity to get out and about and see some additional players.”

“Right now we just have to roll with what we have,” added Woody.

Contact the writer at kholtzman@hendersondispatch.com.