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Long-awaited return

Vikings set to return to action after extended break

Elizabeth City State teams will end long break Monday

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Corey Mendez (with ball) and the Elizabeth City State men's basketball team return to action Monday as they host Winston-Salem State at 7:30 p.m.

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By Craig Moyer
Sports Writer

Sunday, January 7, 2018

When the Elizabeth City State men’s and women’s basketball teams take the court Monday for their contests with Winston-Salem State, the teams will end a combined streak of 30 days without playing a game.

The Lady Vikings tip off with the Lady Rams at 4:30 p.m., as the team will end a 22-day period without a game, having not played since a 56-54 loss Dec. 16 loss to Saint Augustine’s in Raleigh.

The men’s team will face the Rams at 7:30 p.m. Monday and will take the court for the first time in eight days, as their last game was a 71-52 win over Bluefield State at home Dec. 30.

The ECSU basketball teams were scheduled to host Johnson C. Smith Saturday afternoon, but the games were postponed due to wintry weather.

The games were rescheduled for Monday Feb. 5, as the women will play at 5:30 p.m. and the men will play at 7:30 p.m.

Both team’s have started off conference play 0-2 and will each look to pick up their first Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association victory Monday night.

Lady Vikings head coach Antonio Davis hopes his team is able to shake off the rust quickly after going three weeks without playing a game.

“Hopefully we can stay in the game and keep things interesting until we are able to shake off the rust,” Davis said.

The first-year head coach said with such a young team they need continuity and the only way they can work to improve is to see competitive game action.

With the Lady Vikings’ two conference losses coming on the road, by a combined six points, Davis said it was nice to see his team stay competitive and they will learn from their mistakes in those losses.

“It was encouraging to see us go on the road and have the opportunity to win,” Davis said. “Hopefully we can take the positives from those games and protect our home court.”

As the team looks to return from the break on a high note and pick up their first CIAA win, the play of Jalyn Brown and Devona Stell will be vital for the Lady Vikings.

Brown, a junior, has been the leader of the team’s offensive attack throughout the season, as she is averaging a team-high 17.8 points per game this year.

The guard also leads ECSU in minutes per game at 33, field goal percentage at .436 and is tied for second on the team with 30 assists.

Stell is a force offensively as well as on the glass for the team, as the sophomore is nearly averaging a double-double on the season.

The forward is second on the team in scoring behind Brown with 15.6 points per game, while grabbing 9.7 rebounds per game and is second on the team averaging 27.3 minutes per game.

Although the time off for the Lady Vikings has its disadvantages, Davis said it has given the team time to work on their fundamentals as they have been emphasizing the little things in practice.

“We have been doing everything we can to simulate games, but not get too worn down,” Davis said. “We have been doing scrimmages and drills and have gotten back to the drawing board.”

The men’s team, which also has a young roster this season, will rely on a pair of their younger players as they look to pick up their first conference win Monday.

Sophomore John Maynor leads the Vikings this season with 13.9 points per game and has played a team-high 29.3 minutes per game this year.

Freshman Zaccheus Hobbs is the only other player on the team averaging double-digits, as he has scored 11.4 points per game this season.

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