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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports

From the Anchor Desk
Wednesday, December 3, 2003
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

Pats say 'It's time' for ECU to lose


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East Carolina coach Bill Herrion’s theme for this season didn’t ring true on Tuesday night.

That theme is, “It’s time.”

Herrion feels that it’s time for this team to move up, to become a winning program, to do the things it takes to make it to the postseason.

Postseason teams win tough games on the road.

The “time” wasn’t quite right in the loss at George Mason. The Patriots went on a 17-0 run late in the second half to beat East Carolina 76-65. Belton Rivers lead ECU with 13 points.

It was a game that the Pirates could have easily won.

“We had a 7-point lead in the second half and we had the ball a couple of times,” said Herrion. “I think Derrick (Wiley) took a couple of quick shots, and that’s what we told them going in, that they would beat us in transition if we took quick shots.”

In some ways, this Pirate basketball team is a mature one, a team that should and I believe will stand up to the pressure and win road games.

But the freshmen point guards, Japhett McNeil and Mike Cook, still have plenty to learn. They are excellent prospects and will make a difference down the line. Still, the Pirates have freshmen in key spots.

Saturday’s trip to the Meadowlands to challenge Seton Hall certainly won’t be any easier. In fact, the weekend assignment is a more difficult one on paper.

The Pirates had to learn some key lessons in the loss to Mason. How this team responds to many of the “correctable” mistakes that happened in the game will go a long way into deciding just how good this team will be this year.

Eastern region in position to make a statement in prep ranks

For years, Eastern North Carolina has taken a back seat to the high school football programs in Fayetteville and the Triangle.

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But not this year! Five area football teams will go for state titles this weekend, including a pair of teams from Pitt County.

J.H. Rose High School, coached by Greg Thomas and led by the amazing Andre Brown, takes on Mount Tabor in the 4A title game in Winston-Salem on Saturday at noon.

All year long I’ve called Brown the UPS truck because he can do it all. Just like the commercial says, “What can Brown do for you?” All he did for Rose this season was to rush for over 3,000 yards.

Andre Brown surely would look good in Pirate Purple.

In the 4AA ranks, Groves Stadium will also be the venue as Coach Chip Williams and New Bern get another shot at Independence at 4 p.m. Last year, Independence quarterback Chris Leak was the difference in the game. This year, Leak is at Florida and the Bears like their chances.

In the 2A pairing, Southwest Onslow tangles with Burlington Cummings in Raleigh on Saturday, while Raymond Cobb’s Warriors of North Edgecombe take on Elkin at 2pm in Durham.

The weekend’s final game pits Dixon Sauls' Farmville Central Jaguars against Albemarle. I’ve often said the Jags are a 1A school with a 4A heart.

These are five outstanding programs and I’m sure they will all represent the eastern part of our state with class. Best of luck to the Rampants, Bears, Stallions, Warriors and Jaguars.

We’re looking forward to a great weekend of football!

I just wish East Carolina were hosting some of the festivities. If Wake Forest isn’t too far west, then East Carolina shouldn’t be too far east.

Perhaps a year or two of regional championships at ECU will lead to state finals being played at Dowdy-Ficklen stadium down the line.

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02/23/2007 01:25:27 AM

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