Farmville Central’s third-ranked team easily defeated Wilson Prep, ranked 17th, in a matchup between two reigning state champions.

The boys basketball team from Farmville Central High School began their journey to defend their state championship title with a strong 97-64 win against Wilson Prep in their first game of the season.

Last season, the Jaguars emerged as the champions of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 2A state championship. In the 1A category, Wilson Prep claimed the title. The match took place in Farmville and marked the beginning of the Jags’ season. On Saturday, Wilson Prep kicked off their season with a significant victory against local rival Greenfield.

Before the game, Farmville Central was placed as the third best team in the state according to HSOT’s Top 25 rankings. Wilson Prep, on the other hand, was ranked at No. 17.

The current Farmville Central team has undergone some changes compared to last year’s championship-winning team. Star player Jah Short has graduated and two new players, Tyler Whitehurst from Martin County and Hampton Evans from Greenfield School, have joined the starting lineup.

Coach Larry Williford believes that Farmville’s depth is such that they have more than five players who could be considered starters.

The Jaguars’ early momentum in tonight’s game was sparked by the first player off the bench in the first quarter.

In the first quarter, senior Chris Rhodes had a strong performance, making three three-pointers, scoring two points, and making some defensive plays that led to offensive opportunities.

After the first quarter, Farmville Central was ahead with a score of 21-7.

During the second quarter, Wilson Prep narrowed the gap to six points with a score of 32-26. However, Farmville quickly regained control and went on a dominant 20-6 run, bringing the halftime score to 52-32. Farmville’s junior guard Mykal “MJ” Williams had an outstanding second quarter, contributing 14 of the team’s 31 points.

In the third quarter, Wilson Prep scored 21 points compared to Farmville Central’s 20. Senior guard Leslie Minter was the top scorer with nine points in the quarter. Despite the loss, Minter stood out for Wilson Prep by scoring a game-high 25 points.

In the final quarter, Farmville Central made a strong effort and ultimately won the game by a 33-point lead.

Williams and Rhodes tied for the top scoring spots on the Farmville Central team with 20 points each.

The Jaguars will have their second game of the season at their home field next Wednesday, playing against 4A D.H. Conley. Wilson Prep will be facing Southern Wake Academy this Saturday.