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Vance County speared by Spartans, 80-42

Jan. 29—HENDERSON — The Southern Durham Spartans moved to 10-4 when they beat the Vipers 80-42 Friday night on Vance County's home court.

"I just don't think we wanted it enough," said Vance County head coach Chad Wilson. "They were getting dunks on fast breaks, and we had guys not even crossing half-court."

One of the players throwing down those dunks was Spartan senior Camren Daniels. In a contentious, scoreless game, Daniels broke the ice by swishing a three. Then the next time down, the lefty stared at the Vipers' bench after hitting his second one in a row.

The Spartans were running a full-court man-to-man defense with Daniels guarding the inbounds, forcing the Vipers to play at a faster pace. Another three made it 9-2, and after the first quarter, the Vipers were down 14-8.

Opting to drive rather than shoot the wing three, Shamir "Tank" Sheppard strong-armed his way to the rim for a layup. But shortly afterward, Vance County's assistant coach was called for a technical foul, as the Spartans went to the line for more technical free throws — they started the game shooting technicals due to a Vance County player trying to dunk during warmups.

"I don't like to speak on the officials, but he was talking to the official, telling them their players can't talk to us as coaches,' " said Wilson.

Daniels, one of the top players on his team, had words for Vance County for most of the first half.

"I hit two threes, where are you at," Daniels told one Viper on the bench during the first quarter.

"In the game, my mind is so in-tuned," said Daniels. "It was a really intense game, really hostile environment, so I was talking — but it's basketball. I love it."

At 35-14, Damien Jones committed a hard foul on Daniels going up for a finish in transition. Daniels bowed up on the Vance County point guard, taking exception to the strong blow. The senior bawled his fists against the smaller Jones, and the two had to be separated after the altercation. Action froze as the referees took their time to assess technical fouls.

"I just feel like it wasn't basketball," said Daniels. "I didn't feel like he was going for the ball. I was a little upset, but it's basketball. There's a lot of emotions going into the game."

Daniels took and made his technicals for the Spartans, while junior Tyshawn Alston made three out of four of his for the Vipers, and motioned to Southern's bench to "shush"

"I told [Jones] to calm down, and stop," said Wilson. "You committed a hard foul, the guy was upset, it was expected he'd be upset. But let it go — it's over."

Later that same period, Vipers center Taeshawn Alston climbed the ladder for a mammoth block on the 6-foot-5 junior, Jackson Keith. Down 17 points with two minutes left in the half, the Vipers preserved their possession with a timeout. But as both teams returned from halftime with a double-digit score differential, the game's intensity waned in the second half of a 38-point blowout.

Now at 6-10 with their playoff hopes dwindling, the Vipers will have to win out the rest of the year in order to salvage their season.