Voyager cooks Hawks with hot Sause
Voyager Academy coach Patrick Walton turned 33 on Friday.
His players got him a real nice trophy as a birthday present.
Voyager beat Kestrel Heights 66-52 to win the boys’ 1-A North Central Athletic Conference Tournament, held at Voyager’s gym.
The Vikings repeated as tournament champs and also were the top NCAC team at the end of the regular season.
Both Voyager and Kestrel, along with NCAC member Roxboro Community School, earned spots in the state playoffs as top-three conference finishers, Voyager athletics director Mike Germino said.
The playoffs start Monday.
Kestrel coach Lenell Wallace made it sound like his Hawks have some stuff to figure out between now and then.
“Right now, we’re not mentally where we should be,” Wallace said. “We try a lot of things, but we’re not as disciplined as we should be.
“We fought back — but, then, we need all five of us fighting back.”
Kestrel jumped on Voyager in the first period with some pressure defense that kept Jay Huff off the scoreboard in the first period.
Huff hurt Kestrel the last time those teams met. Prior to Friday’s game, Wallace said he was still having nightmares about Huff hitting all those shots from downtown.
Kestrel was mixing its defense, vexing Voyager.
“Their adjustments did bother us a little bit, and then we adjusted to that,” Walton said.
When Kestrel began extending its defense, the floor opened up for Christopher “Hot” Sause.
“We knew they were going to play that 3-2 zone,” Walton said. “There’s a reason why we still work on shooting.”
Sause was sizzling, leading all scorers with 25 points.
Huff in the second period slowly came alive offensively. All along, though, he was wide-awake swatting shots on the other end of the floor.
Voyager led 34-25 at halftime.
Huff apparently found his shooting stroke in the locker room, because he started the second half with a 3-pointer, and Gary Ford II knocked down a long ball to push Voyager’s lead to 40-25.
Wallace needed a timeout to talk about it with his guys.
Asa Clark (14 points) and Devonte Barker (16 points) were doing work for Kestrel and helped the Hawks get within six points of the Vikings with 59.1 seconds left in the third period.
But Voyager kept pouring Sause on the Hawks, and Huff (19 points) would finish the game with five 3s.
“One of the game plans (Friday night) was let the guys to have fun,” Walton said. “You don’t want them to get too tense in a big situation like this.”
Voyager will be on its own court Monday looking to get its first playoff win in school history. That was a preseason goal, Walton said.
The Vikings last season lost in the first round of the playoffs.
Another Voyager goal was earning one of the top-four playoff seeds in the region, and “we’ve done that,” Walton said.
This is just the third varsity season of Voyager basketball.
Voyager Academy 66, Kestrel Heights 52
Kestrel Heights |10 |15 |18 |9 — 52
Voyager Academy |16 |18 |15 | 17 — 66
KESTREL HEIGHTS — Johnny Whitted 8, Idee Johnson 4, Devonte Barker 16, Zack Featherstone 4, Asa Clark 14, Treyvon Brooks 4, Ishon Banks 2.
VOYAGER ACADEMY — Gary Ford II 5, Charlie Stone 6, McKenzie Barringer 2, Patrick Lester 4, Diante Parker 3, Christopher Sause 25, Jay Huff 19, Coltyn Faucette 2
Records — Kestrel Heights 15-8, 12-3 NCAC; Voyager Academy 20-9, 13-2 NCAC.