Six-man Vanguards edged 76-75

Feb. 16, 2014 @ 01:59 AM

Down a point with 1.7 seconds left to play, Vance-Granville had an opportunity on Saturday to pick up its second win of the season and first in Region 10 play.

But a mid-range, right-handed hook from Christian Creswell was blocked and the Vanguards fell 76-75 to Tidewater Community College of Norfolk, Va.

Vance-Granville, playing with six players, trailed by as many as 15 points in the second half before a late charge put the Vanguards in position to win.

“Once we got out of the hole, we realized we had ample opportunity to win the game,” said Vance-Granville head coach Michael Woody. “We just fell a little bit short.”

Creswell said the first option on the last play was designed for Durham’s Ronald Evans, who finished with 32 points. Evans couldn’t get open and Creswell’s effort was met by the hand of Tidewater’s Jovan Gibbs.

“I got the ball. It just wasn’t a clear shot,” said Creswell, a 6-foot-5 freshman from Shelby.

Creswell tallied 12 points and Jarrett Ballard, who entered Saturday ranked third in National Junior College Athletic Association assists, had 10 points and 12 dimes.

Vance-Granville’s first lead of the second half came in the final 20 seconds when Jordan Bunting (18 points, 15 rebounds) converted a put-back inside.

But Tidewater answered with a close-range go-ahead bucket with 9.8 seconds remaining.

A close loss was no consolation for Vance-Granville’s first-year coach.

“We understand that our margin of error is very small because of the fact we only have six players,” said Woody. “But our standards are high. The guys have bought in to what we’ve been teaching all year long. I appreciate what they do and their attitudes because no one has quit on me.”

The Vanguards had been playing with five at the end of last semester, but picked up post player Tre Rogers, a converted point guard.

Vance-Granville vists Lenoir Community College on Wednesday before hosting Patrick Henry Community College on Saturday at Aycock Recreation Center. The Region 10 Tournament is scheduled for March 6-9 in Hickory.

Contact the writer at kholtzman@hendersondispatch.com.