Cougar boys knock off No. 1 Kinston
By David Williams
Published in Sports on February 19, 2004 1:56 PM
KINSTON -- Goldsboro's improbable journey to the Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference tournament boys' championship just got a lot more probable.
The Cougars sent shock waves across the state Wednesday night after beating No. 1-ranked Kinston 68-66 at the Vikings gym in the ECC tournament quarterfinals.
The depth of this victory takes proper scope when fans consider --
* The Vikings were 22-1 coming into the game and had not lost to a North Carolina-based school all season. The last loss to a North Carolina squad was in last year's regional finals -- to Goldsboro.
* Kinston owned a 35-game win streak on its home floor.
* Vikings coach Wells Gulledge had not lost in his gym since he took the Kinston job three years ago.
All of that is now history -- vaporized by a superbly-stroked three-pointer by sophomore Tavon Waters with just 2.3 seconds left in the game. The shot turned a 66-64 Kinston lead into one of the most heart-pounding finishes in the annals of this storied rivalry.
Kinston had time to take the ball out twice before the clock hit zero, but both times the Vikings failed to get the ball into the hands of a shooter and turned it over.
"These last three weeks, the kids got not only mentally tough, but tough here," said Goldsboro coach Randy Jordan as he tapped his chest. "It's a testament to these kids."
"Hats off to Goldsboro," said Gulledge. "When a team is on the verge of extinction, they do everything within their power to win. Our kids failed to respect that."
Kinston had taken a 66-64 lead at the 1:19 mark of the fourth period when Jay McBynum rebounded a Goldsboro miss and baseball-passed a missile to Mike Jenkins, who laid it in after beating everyone back down the court.
Goldsboro brought the ball upcourt and began to milk the clock for one shot. Waters fell down under pressure, but called time out before he lost the ball.
Goldsboro got the clock down to 12 seconds before they ran what Jordan calls "the outside."
"We wanted a two," said Jordan. "If the shooter is not open, Tavon rolls off the double and has a shot."
The shooter was senior Adam Wright, who sent some of the defense to the corner with a quick fake before passing the other way to Waters at the top of the key.
"I've never hit a shot that big in my life," said Waters.
"Hats off to him," said Gulledge. "That was a big-time shot and we left him wide open. We reacted to what they did in that deep corner."
Waters said there was no pressure in taking the shot.
"I've got the greatest coach in the conference," he said, patting Jordan as he spoke. "He tells me to shoot and don't worry about what will happen. He said I'll make a mistake, but I'll come back with a big shot."
The game was tighter than tight from start to finish, with no team getting a larger lead than six points. Ray Brinson, the 6-8 senior center, kept Goldsboro in the game with outstanding rebounding and 13 points, mostly on put-backs. Brinson was seemingly on every board, usually with two Vikings around him.
"We really got out of our rotation early," said Gulledge. "I have always said about this team that if we get in early foul trouble against a big man, then we are in trouble."
Wright led the Cougars with 14 points, while Brinson had 13 and Waters 12. Daryll Jones led a gallant Kinston effort with 15 points, while McBynum had 14 and Jarious Harris had 10.
Kinston (22-2) is still the ECC's top boys seed in next week's Class 3-A state tournament, and will not play until a second-round matchup on Thursday.
Goldsboro (13-13), a team that had a ton of potential but a dismal ECC record this season, can now win a post-season berth from a No. 8 seeding if they can win tonight at Southern Wayne in the semifinals, and then top either Eastern Wayne or West Carteret in Saturday's championship.
Brinson had a message about his team's journey.
"We were sleeping through the regular season," he said. "But we're coming back. It's our turn. This is a huge win. I've never had a bigger win in my life. We are coming back. We're back with force."
"It's time to party."
Goldsboro 18 17 14 19 -- 68
Kinston 17 19 17 13 -- 66
Adam Wright 3 1 5-6 14, Ray Brinson 4 5-11 13, Tavon Waters 2 2 2-2 12, Daquan Jayner 6 0 0-0 12, Chris Jones 3 0 3-4 9, Joe Daniels 1 0 1-2 3, Adrian Collins 1 0 1-3 3, Josh Broadie 1 0 0-0 2. TOTALS -- 21 3 17-28 68.
Daryll Jones 5 0 5-8 15, Jay McBynum 5 0 4-6 14, Jarius Harris 3 1 1-2 10, Jemell Walters 3 0 3-4 9, Montel Jones 2 0 1-2 5, Ben Sutton 2 0 1-12 5, Mike Jenkins 1 0 2-2 4, Mike Small 0 1 0-0 3, Teyon Marshall 0 0 1-2 1. TOTALS -- 21 2 18-28 66.
Three-point baskets -- Goldsboro 3 (Waters 2, Wright), Kinston 2 (Small, Harris). Turnovers -- Goldsboro 7, Kinston 11. Total fouls -- Goldsboro 21, Kinston 19. Fouled out -- none. Technicals -- none.
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