Spartans survive Thomasville

Central Davidson’s Chris Pompey (left) gets tangled up with Thomasville’s Akeem Davis (center) and Desmond Wilson while vying for a rebound during their game Friday night. (Photo by Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch)

THOMASVILLE | Central Davidson big man Chris Pompey cleaned the glass like he was on a scaffold at a high rise in the second half Friday night.

His work kept the Spartans spotless in the Central Carolina Conference.

Pompey scored 34 points and pulled down 17 rebounds — including the game-winning offensive rebound and putback with 23 seconds to play — to give the Spartans a wild 62-60 win over the Bulldogs. One night after Thomasville suffered a disappointing loss to Salisbury, the Bulldogs put forth a valiant effort against the CCC’s top team. But Pompey, and the rest of the scrappy Spartans, did what they had to do down the stretch to survive.

Central coach Brian Hege, whose team improved to 6-0 in the CCC, 16-2 overall with its 14th straight win, couldn’t exhale until he was walking off the floor after the final buzzer. “Nobody said it was going to be easy,” he said. “I’m proud of my guys for fighting that one out.

“Because we had every ounce of energy out there on the floor. We got down three or four there late, but we never hung our heads down. We just kept our nose to the grind stone.”

Thomasville, playing without Latrele Skeen and Shakeem Peterson, didn’t back down from the Spartans for a minute. In fact, it was the Bulldogs who dominated the glass early on the offensive end, and that led to some easy baskets. That allowed Thomasville to keep things close, trailing 32-29 at the half.

But Hege admitted, he had a “little heart-to-heart” with Pompey and the Spartans in the locker room, and that had to change if they expected to win. “We just had to rebound more,” Pompey said. “We were slacking a little bit in the first half. But we came out in the second half pretty strong.”

Neither team was willing to cave in the third quarter, and Thomasville closed the quarter on a 9-1 run to knot things up at 44-44 after three. Dezmond Wilson drove hard to the rim for a score to give the Bulldogs their last lead, at 60-59, in the final minute. Robert Biesecker then sliced his way into the lane for a wild shot that caromed right into Pompey’s hands, and he went back up for the putback and was fouled. He knocked down the free throw for a 62-60 lead, but the Bulldogs had two more chances. Payne tried to feed Purvis on the blocks, but Will Ramsey knocked the entry pass away and Pompey came up with the loose ball. He missed both free throws, with 11 seconds left, but Wilson’s off-balanced 3 at the buzzer was way off the mark.

Thomasville coach Tony Clark knew the Bulldogs let one slip through their fingers, and Central scored 10 points in the fourth quarter after offensive rebounds. “One box-out away,” he said. “They had three opportunities where they scored on missed free throws that we couldn’t box them out on.

“Just one box-out away.”

Derek Chavis added 11 points for the Spartans. Payne led the Bulldogs (2-4, 6-11) with 16 points, and Purvis chipped in 11.

Jason Queen can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 220 or