WENDELL — In trying to run its win streak to 10 games, the Corinth Holders boys basketball team was tested Friday night as they hosted Northern Carolina 2A Conference foe Franklinton.
The Pirates passed their test with a 57-48 win over the talented Red Rams that improved Corinth Holders to 12-1 on the season with a flawless 5-0 mark in conference.
But although the Pirates made a passing grade in holding off Franklinton, Coach Chris Davis knows his team will need better performances in order to reach all of its goals this season.
“We’ve yet to put together our A+ game out on the floor,” said Davis who points to his squad’s 60-49 win over Smithfield-Selma on Nov. 30 to open the season as its best game. “I’m waiting for the A+ game to happen.”
Early on it looked as though the Pirates were headed for that elusive perfect mark as Kenneth Collins and Kahlil Larry torched the Red Rams’ defense in the first half with each player posting 12 points apiece by halftime.
But instead of building on its 11-point halftime lead, the Pirates were unable to put away the Red Rams before the game’s final minutes.
“Being consistent throughout the course of the game, we’ve got to do a better job with that,” said Davis, unhappy with his team’s inability to close out the Red Rams sooner. “It’s the decisions, it’s not the effort.
“That’s the time when you don’t make bad decisions, you keep that double digit lead and make them have to work really hard to come back.”
Missed layups, missed free throws and a few missed defensive assignments allowed Franklinton to remain in the game throughout most of the second half.
The Red Rams closed to within 51-45 on a pair of Tykwan Crudup foul shots with 2:35 left in the game before Collins finally nailed the door shut with a layup and four free throws down the stretch.
Collins led the Pirates with 23 points and Larry totaled 16 on the evening.
Besides not getting as much offensive balance as he would like, Davis was pleased with the contribution of Klilah Cox who, despite scoring just six points, had six rebounds, five assists and four steals.
“When I go home tonight and break down the video, he’s going to fill up the stat sheet; he always has,” Davis said of Cox. “If he’s not getting it done with scoring, he’s getting it done by rebounding, by passing, by getting steals. He’s an integral part of what we do.”
Crudup led the Red Rams with 15 points and seven rebounds. Tre Gaither pitched in with 14 points.
Kiyon Walden added eight points and eight rebounds for Corinth Holders as he and Cox helped to neutralize the perceived advantage Franklinton held in the front court.
Davis hopes the fact that his team has not played its absolute best yet will bode well for the Pirates who hope to improve upon last season when, despite winning 20 games, they struggled entering the playoffs and were bounced in the second round.
“I think this is maybe leading to where we end up peaking at maybe the right time,” Davis said. “I think maybe we peaked a little bit early last year so I’m hoping that maybe we’re flipping that script a little bit and we’re pushing to our peak near the end of the season.”