Tired Gators fall to Ayden-Grifton
By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on February 8, 2004 2:01 AM
SEVEN SPRINGS -- Spring Creek's boys basketball team knew first place in the Class 1-A Carolina Conference was on the line Friday night at home against Ayden-Grifton.
The Gators wanted it. They just didn't have the legs.
Playing its fifth game in eight days and its third contest in four days, the Gators hung in with the Chargers into the fourth period before Ayden-Grifton posted one final run to claim a 90-71 win on Spring Creek's senior night.
Spring Creek's Josh Bishop scored 19 of his team-high 24 points in the first half, while Ayden-Grifton's Jamal Rouse got hot in the second half and posted 20 of his game-high 29. Bishop also had six assists and five rebounds for the game.
The victory makes Ayden-Grifton (13-6, 9-1 Carolina) the only one loss team with two conference games slated for next week -- at North Johnston on Tuesday and home on Friday to host third-place Farmville Central.
Fueled by back-to-back wins over the Jaguars this week, the Gators (16-6, 9-2) can finish no worse than second, but will need some help by the Panthers or Jags to retake the conference's top spot. Conference tournament play begins Feb. 17.
"We went into the game trying to play down the fatigue player. The boys played a heck of a ball game last night at Farmville," Spring Creek coach Sonny Kilpatrick said. "Tired or not, they (Ayden-Grifton) are a good ball team, but we are too.
"We worked hard for three periods, and we were in the ball game until about four minutes to go."
The Lady Gators trudged out of the gate slowly, before picking up intensity on the defensive end and benefiting from a dazzling second-half performance from junior Shondolyn Rogers to claim a 43-31 win over the one-win Lady Chargers (1-18, 1-9).
On top of solid rebounding and defensive play, Rogers tallied 20 of her 28 points after intermission to help Spring Creek maintain their grip on fourth place and the conference's final state playoff spot with a 43-31 victory.
The Gators didn't take their first lead until the 2:30 mark of the third when Rogers drilled a pull-up jumper to give her team a 24-22 edge. Spring Creek never trailed again as the Chargers managed just three field goals in the second half.
"When she's (Rogers) going, we're going," Spring Creek coach Cassandra Tyson, "We wanted to finish third, but now we've got fourth, and we've just got to keep working hard and hold on to that."
Ayden-Grifton shot just five-of-21 from the free-throw line on the game, a chilly 24 percent.
The boys match-up featured two of the best outside shooting teams in the conference as each team buried seven three-pointers, including four each by Rouse and Bishop for their respective teams.
Bishop scored 19 of the Gators' first 31 points and capped a 13-2 run with two-straight open-court baskets as Spring Creek tied the game midway through the second at 31-31. After long-time Chargers' coach Bob Murphy burned a timeout, Ayden-Grifton outscored Spring Creek 10-4 before the half in a game where the Chargers always seemed to have an answer to a Gators' run or big play.
Fatigue eventually seemed to catch up with Spring Creek, but it kept Ayden-Grifton's lead under double digits into the fourth. A three by Grey Wilson, who finished with 15 points, cut the Chargers' margin to 62-56 with 7:10 to play. Ayden-Grifton's Jecol Edwards then answered with an old-fashioned three-point play as his team went on to control the fourth.
The Chargers posted 32 fourth-period points, many coming after their ability to break Spring Creek's full-court pressure.
Ayden-Grifton also held a decisive rebounding edge, especially on the offensive glass. On one possession early in the fourth, the Chargers grabbed seven offensive rebounds.
Shane Stevenson and Brian Armstrong contributed 14 points and seven rebounds each for Spring Creek.
Despite the loss, Kilpatrick knows there are plenty of important basketball games left to be played this season.
"We're going to finish no worse than second. We've still got the tournament and we are already in the big dance (state playoffs)," he said. "We know we are going to the state playoffs and our first objective is to win one there. We've never done that before."
It marked the final regular-season home game for Spring Creek's second graduating senior class. Yolanda Lawson and Jamie Lee were recognized for the Lady Gators, while Armstrong, Tavaris Jones, Jacob Odom, Stevenson and Wilson were acknowledged for the boys team.
Ayden-Grifton 11 10 3 5 -- 31
Spring Creek 6 8 16 11 -- 43
AYDEN-GRIFTON (1-18, 1-9)
Keke Pugh 5 0 0-6 10, Melissa Griffin 3 0 2-6 8, Moneccia Norris 3 0 2-5 8, Lindsey Unruh 1 0 0-0 2, Deanna Keys 1 0 0-0 2, Shannon Quineny 0 0 1-4 1. TOTALS -- 13 0 5-21 31.
SPRING CREEK (9-13, 6-5)
Shondolyn Rogers 12 1 1-2 28, Austi Joyner 2 1 0-0 7, Shantell Patterson 2 0 0-2 4, Alex Garner 1 0 0-0 2, Yolanda Lawson 1 0 0-0 2. TOTALS -- 18 1 1-4 43.
Three-point baskets -- Spring Creek 1 (Rogers). Turnovers -- Ayden-Grifton 30, Spring Creek 13. Total fouls -- Ayden-Grifton 8, Spring Creek 18. Fouled out -- Yolanda Lawson (SC). Technicals -- none.
Ayden-Grifton 23 18 17 32 -- 90
Spring Creek 16 19 15 21 -- 71
AYDEN-GRIFTON (13-6, 9-1)
Jamal Rouse 6 4 5-8 29, Jeremy McGhee 5 2 4-4 20, Marquel Baker 6 0 2-2 14, Jecol Edwards 3 1 5-7 14, Tyshawn Hall 6 0 0-0 12, Robby Phillips 0 0 0-1 0. TOTALS -- 26 7 16-22 90.
SPRING CREEK (16-6, 9-2)
Josh Bishop 5 4 2-2 24, Grey Wilson 3 2 3-3 15, Shane Stevenson 3 1 5-10 14, Brian Armstrong 6 0 2-4 14, Mychael King 1 0 0-0 2, DeQuan McLamb 1 0 0-0 2. TOTALS -- 19 7 12-19 71.
Three-point baskets -- Ayden-Grifton 7 (Rouse 4, McGhee 2, Edwards), Spring Creek 7 (Bishop 4, Wilson 2, Stevenson). Turnovers -- Ayden-Grifton 5, Spring Creek 13. Total fouls -- Ayden-Grifton 16, Spring Creek 18. Fouled out -- Michael Broadie (SC). Technicals -- none.
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