Commentary: Northeastern’s accomplishments should not be ignored
It was an unfortunate ending to a historic season.
In the biggest boys basketball game for Northeastern in more than 25 years, the Eagles played most of the 2A East Regional Final Saturday at Fayetteville’s Crown Coliseum with one hand tied behind its back.
Senior forward Trey Carver, who for most of the season had been the iron man for Northeastern, was relegated to a spectator.
An injury in the first half limited the mobility of the listed 6-foot-5 small forward.
Although the Eagles fought to keep it a five-point game at the half, Farmville Central cruised to the 72-57 victory to claim the regional championship.
On the sideline, it appeared that Carver’s prognosis wasn’t good. At one point in the second quarter, the senior sat on the bench with his head buried in his hands in frustration.
A team that for most of the season found a way to adjust to situations could not find the right combination against the Jaguars.
Without Carver, any hopes of having some resistance on the boards were gone.
An offense that worked inside out in the regional semifinal against Fairmont, a team that was tied with Farmville Central after the first quarter, was out of sorts in the second and third quarters.
A potential exciting regional final coasted to an anticlimactic finish.
Saturday’s result doesn’t put a damper on what NHS accomplished this season.
A 27-win season, an undefeated conference record, the Northeastern Coastal Conference regular season and tournament crowns, an appearance in the regional final for the first time since 1990 isn’t something to sneeze at.
Carver, a Hampton signee, will be another player from NHS in the past few years to play Division I basketball.
The 2015-2016 Northeastern team had high expectations and met them.
For some perspective, a basketball program that had a talent like former professional player Kenny Williams and other college-bound athletes, only two NHS teams have advanced to the regional final: 1989-1990 and 2015-2016.
Although a lot can change in eight months, next season’s team — barring significant injuries — has the building blocks for another playoff run.
Damar Sutton will be a junior and Shawn Walker Jr. will be a sophomore in the fall.
The pair did what they could against Farmville Central.
In my travels to Fairmont and Fayetteville, Walker received praise for his ability as a point guard.
Walker also showed that when needed, he could score.
Sutton, who for most of the season attacked the basket, also displayed a jump shot in the playoffs.
Although for the next days and weeks, could of, would of and should of, will be thrown around, reflect on the journey that the NHS basketball team took the area this season.
— Malcolm Shields