First Posted: 3/3/2009
ROWLAND South Robeson head coach Bryan Grice isn’t used to the kind of attention that comes with advancing to the regional semifinals of the state 1-A playoffs.
His team, the only basketball squad still playing in Robeson County, is so popular that they’re interrupting religious services.
“Believe it or not, I didn’t know it (getting this far in the playoffs) was so big,” Grice said. “I went to church on Sunday and we all go to a small restaurant after service. They saw me and said they cancelled Wednesday night prayer meeting so they can come on up and watch us play.”
The Mustangs will face Weldon High School, for a berth in the regional final, on Wednesday at Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum on the campus of East Carolina University.
Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
“This means a great deal, not only to South Robeson but to the Rowland Community as a whole,” South Robeson athletics director Jerome Hunt said. We can tell how much it means to the community by the fan support we’ve had.”
The school will be chartering a bus from Rowland to Greenville. The bus will leave Rowland on Wednesday at 2 p.m.
The price is $20 to ride the bus and admission to the game is $9.
Grice shared the opinion of Hunt.
“They’re all into it,” Grice said of South Robeson’s fans. “We need all the support we can get. I’ve been on this level, not coaching, but playing. They want us to take this thing all the way and we’re going to represent and try to push this as far as we can.”
Weldon (26-1) is yhe champion of the Tar-Roanoke conference.
The short turnaround and lack of information on his opponent doesn’t bother Grice.
“I’d like to see their schedule and call a team or two that they’ve already played,” he said. “I don’t do much scouting. I basically just try to go with what I’ve got. I like to get a little information, but other than that I’m going to go ahead and do what I do.”
The Mustangs downed Hobbton, Pamlico and East Bladen by an average of 13 points per game to cruise to a sectional 3 victory.
Senior Kyle Oxendine scored double-figures in all three games.
Oxendine says the team got together on Sunday to shoot around and discuss Wednesday’s game.
“We talked about just going out there and winning on Wednesday,” he said. “We just need go out and play ball and work together as a team and play great defense.”
After Friday’s win over East Bladen, Mustangs forward David Goins said he never thought his team would be this successful.
“I wouldn’t of thought in a million years that we would be this close to winning a state championship,” he said.
The winner of the South Robeson-Weldon matchup will face either Camden (25-3) or Pender (23-6) for the East regional title on Saturday at 3 p.m.