Colby Austin launches a three-pointer. Photo by Casey Robertson

By Richard Taylor 

The boys’ varsity Dolphins basketball team advanced to the next round of the state 1A East playoffs Tuesday evening, defeating Union High of Rose Hill 68-57, before a large, enthusiastic home crowd in the “Tank.” For round two, the Dolphins will take on the East Carteret Mariners in Beaufort at 7:30 this evening (Feb. 22).

On the road, the Lady Dolphins ended their season, falling to Riverside High, 73-5. 

The Dolphins seemed to be swimming against the tide early on, falling behind the Spartans 9-0 in the opening minutes, before settling down for a 31-8 run to lead Union 31-17 at the half.

Just before the game, athletic director Charles Temple unveiled a court-side banner proclaiming the Dolphins as 2018 Atlantic 6 conference champions  which unfortunately, crashed to the floor. Nevertheless, Temple beamed with pride as he announced to a cheering crowd that Dave Allewalt was voted conference coach of the year and Liam Caswell was named conference player of the year.

Dave Allewalt Atlantic 6 Conference coach of the year. Photo by Peter Vankevich

Caswell led all scorers with 25 points in his final home game, followed by Colby Austin with 18 — all from 3-point land. Kalai Samick scored 11. Caswell leads the Dolphins with an average of 23.2 points and 8.6 rebounds per game.

The Spartans left Duplin County at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday and drove the “long way around” to N.C. 12 and took the 3 p.m. Hatteras ferry so players could see the Outer Banks by daylight.  About 10 families traveled with the team. The Spartan players and their coaches said they were excited about coming to Ocracoke, many characterizing the trip like a mini-vacation.

The ninth-seeded Dolphins, now 21-3, next battle eight-seeded East Carteret Mariners of Beaufort at 7:30 Thursday evening.  East Carteret, 14-10 for the season (11-3 in conference), earned a first-round bye.

East Carteret lost to the Heide Trask Titans of Pender County, 48-42, in the Coastal 8 Conference tournament, Feb 16. Heide Trask is a 2A school, while East Carteret is 1A in the mixed Coastal 8 conference.

“We’ve been in the playoffs for the last four years,” Allewalt said after the game, “but this is the first time we’ve ever won a game. I think being at home helped us.” The school held a 2:30 p.m. pep rally before the game to cheer on the team.

Allewalt predicts a tough game against East Carteret. The Mariners top scorers are point guard Maceo Donald and guard Bennie Brooks with 15 and12 points per game respectively. The team is averaging 56 points per game to 68 by Ocracoke.

The winner of this game will play the winner of the Rocky Mount Preparatory Jaguars vs. Plymouth Vikings. Rocky Mount is top-seed and undefeated (22-0).

Adam Burleson will call the play-by-play for the game on WOVV 90.1 FM and 

“This is one of the greatest games in Dolphin history,” WOVV Board Chair Tommy Hutcherson texted. “Blast it out on social media and the airwaves. Fear The Pod.”

Conversely, it was a long bus and ferry ride home for the Lady Dolphins, who were outmatched by powerhouse Riverside High (21-6) of Williamston, 73-5, in the first round of the women’s 1A playoffs at Williamston.

Riverside’s defense held the Lady Dolphins scoreless in the first half and allowed only one point in the third period. The Dolphins scored four points in the final period. Stats for the game were not available.

Keith Gaskins and Jason Wells cheer on the Dolphins Tuesday from the bleachers. Photo by Peter Vankevich
The Ocracoke crowd ‘leans’ along with the Ocracoke School Cheer Club during Tuesday’s game. Photo: C. Leinbach
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