Rosewood boys claim first playoff win in two-plus decades
By David Williams
Published in Sports on February 25, 2004 1:57 PM
WARSAW -- Rosewood's boys basketball team came to Harmon gymnasium Monday with just seven wins on the season.
They came out with one more win -- and a big piece of school history.
The Eagles won their first postseason game in at least 14 years -- and possibly since 1973 -- with a 59-56 overtime win against James Kenan in the opening round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 1-A sectional No. 3 playoffs.
Rosewood's Taylor Carr goes up for the layup as James Kenan's Travis Player hits the floor. Player drew the charge on Carr in this instance, but the Eagles brought home the win.
Kenan, the third-seeded team from the Super Six Conference, ended its season at 14-12 with the loss. Rosewood, which won three straight games to capture the Carolina Confer-ence's fourth seed -- and the school's first playoff berth since 1997 -- plays again Thursday at Coastal Plains Conference champion Lejeune.
Rosewood's last playoff win is a matter of some conjecture. The last time school officials remember a playoff win was in 1973, when Branch Pope took the Eagles to the state 1-A championship game. Rosewood made the playoffs in 1984 and 1997 but did not win their opening games.
Any way it is sliced, the victory was a long time coming for coach Daniel Mitchell's team.
"They hit big shots," said Mitchell. "They stepped up."
The game was close.
Kenan ran off to an 18-10 lead after one period, but Rosewood began to get the ball inside and began to chip the deficit down. The Eagles trailed just 25-24 at halftime, setting up a tough, close contest of physical board play and tight-checking man defenses.
The break came at the five-minute mark of the fourth period, when the Eagles' Javon Williams ran off nine straight points to bump the Rosewood lead up to four points. Williams converted a steal, hit a three, nailed a jumper and knocked down two free throws in the critical span.
"He's a senior," said Mitchell. "He's used to the pressure because he was the main ball carrier in football. He stepped up tonight."
The Eagles traded shots with the homestanding Tigers. Shane Cohen and Travis Player, Andrew Bowden and Cedric Townsend kept Kenan battling.
Both teams missed chances to end the game in regulation and overtime began at 48-48. Williams and Dustin Overman each hit 3-pointers in the critical overtime. Kenan answered with deep shots from Cohen and Townsend.
The difference came at the free throw line. Kenan went 0-for-4 in the extra frame, while Rosewood went 5-for-6 -- including two big charity shots by Kyle Grey that gave Rosewood a two-possession game with less than 15 seconds to play.
Williams' 18 points led all scorers, while Grey added 11.
Ronnie Williams had 15 points to pace the Tigers. Cohen had 13 and Townsend had 11.
Kenan coach Mitchell Quinn said his team would not accept the "we didn't get the breaks" excuse.
"We usually score 60 points a game or more," Quinn said. "That's what we do. We are used to a faster-paced game, but they were able to control the tempo. I'm disappointed -- with our athletes, this should not have been a close game.
"But I'm not taking anything away from Rosewood. They were poised and patient. If I was them, I wouldn't change a thing."
Mitchell must now prepare to face a Lejeune team that lost just one game this season.
"I don't know anything about them," he said. "I guess I'd better get on the phones and find something out about them."
2004 N.C. High School
Athletic Association Class 1-A
Sectional No. 3 playoffs
(at James Kenan HS, Warsaw)
Rosewood 10 14 14 10 11 -- 59
James Kenan 18 7 12 11 8 -- 56
Javon Williams 5 2 2-2 18, Kyle Grey 4 0 3-4 11, Dustin Overman 0 1 6-12 9, Danny Langston 4 0 0-1 8, Taylor Carr 3 0 1-1 7, Kyle Bunn 1 0 2-3 4, Matt Hill 0 0 2-2 2. TOTALS -- 17 3 16-25 59.
JAMES KENAN (14-12)
Ronnie Williams 4 2 1-2 15, Shane Cohen 1 3 2-2 13, Cedric Townsend 4 1 0-0 11, Travis Player 3 0 0-4 6, Andrew Bowden 1 1 0-0 5, Robert Highsmith 2 0 0-0 4, Brian Dobson 1 0 0-0 2. TOTALS -- 16 7 3-8 56.
Three-point baskets -- James Kenan 7 (Cohen 3, Williams 2, Townsend, Bowden). Rosewood 3 (Williams 2, Overman). Turnovers -- James Kenan 20, Rosewood 22. Total fouls -- James Kenan 19, Rosewood 9. Fouled out -- Williams. Technical -- Williams.
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