By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on February 26, 2004 1:56 PM
Goldsboro senior guard Clintoria Bryant didn't see Jessica Faison under the basket initially as she brought the ball up past midcourt late in the third period. As she continued to dribble, the senior caught Faison out of the corner of her eye, then whipped a no-look pass inside that Faison finished.
A White Oak player attempts to block Chevoya Jackson from behind during their sectional semifinal game Wednesday at the Cougars' Den.
It proved to be one of her nine assists on the night as Bryant was a huge factor in Goldsboro's 19-5 third-period stretch, which ultimately secured the Lady Cougars' 67-46 win over White Oak in the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A sectional semifinals at the Cougar Den on Wednesday.
The win was the Lady Cougars' 18th in a row.
"I know my girls and I know where they are going to move," Bryant said. "We've been playing together for a long time, and I know exactly where they are going to be."
Goldsboro (27-1), ranked third in the final 3-A ihigh.com coaches/media poll, now advances to the sectional finals to face West Brunswick on Friday night in Shallotte. The Lady Trojans, the top 3-A seed from the Mideastern 3-A/4-A Conference, garner just an 8-14 record after defeating Kinston Wednesday but rotating seeding priority allows them the host.
"At this point in the season, you have to play the hand that is dealt to you," Goldsboro coach Gladys McClary said.
West Brunswick is coached by former Mount Olive College women's coach Marsha Heady.
White Oak, the Mideastern's second seed, concluded its season at 5-15. It marked the second straight year an Eastern Carolina Conference team put the Vikings out of the state playoffs after Southern Wayne defeated White Oak last season in Jacksonville.
Not only was Bryant pivotal during Goldsboro's huge third period Wednesday, but she also posted 10 of her 15 points before intermission and dished out six assists in an otherwise rusty offensive first half for the Cougars, who had a first-round bye on Monday.
"She (Bryant) is a true leader," McClary said. "She carries the team, she doesn't panic and she plays very well under pressure, and her teammates are following suit."
Goldsboro's Shemika Hardy proved to be the beneficiary of several of Bryant's passes and scored six of her eight points in the first.
White Oak, which had 28 turnovers on the game, committed a flurry of miscues late in the first half. That allowed Goldsboro to boost its lead to 16-9 at the end of the first period on a three-pointer at the buzzer by sophomore Chevoya Jackson.
Jackson tallied a team-high 17 points in the win.
The Cougars offense never completely got on track in the second period, but it continued to play a stout mixture of defenses against the Vikings. White Oak capitalized on six-of-eight from the free throw line in the second and two baskets from Netty Martin, who led the Vikings with 17 points on the night.
Goldsboro took a 34-24 lead into intermission.
"I was a little concerned because we had not played Monday," McClary said. "I knew we would come out of this game a little rusty. But, if your offense isn't working, step up your defense.
"Late in the season, we've got to stay under control and keep our poise and understand the importance of good defense."
The Lady Cougars took complete control of the contest in the third, forcing nine turnovers and turning a handful of the miscues into points on the other end.
Jessica Faison, who finished with nine points and nine rebounds, scored back-to-back baskets late in the third, while Helga Bryant knocked down Goldsboro's second buzzer-beating three to end the third to give the Cougars a comfortable, 53-29 lead after three.
"In the third period, we had too many turnovers," White Oak coach Debbie Lausterer said. "Our focus wasn't the same, and we could have boxed out a little better. We got in too much of a hole we couldn't get out of."
McClary was able to get key minutes out of her reserve players in the fourth period paced by Mikeda Graham, who came off of the bench to score six points in the fourth.
Ten different Goldsboro players scored in the win.
"The bench is my biggest concern, because as we go farther they are going to play a big part," McClary said. "They took a lot of the pressure off of the starters tonight, and overall they did what I asked them to do."
2004 N.C. High School
Sectional No. 2 semifinals
(at Goldsboro HS)
White Oak 9 15 5 17 -- 46
Goldsboro 16 18 19 14 -- 67
WHITE OAK (5-15)
Netty Martin 5 0 7-10 17, Elizabeth Styron 4 0 5-6 13, Angelica Pousson 1 2 0-0 8, LaShawndra White 1 0 1-2 3, Samantha Roundtree 1 0 1-2 3, Allyson Taylor 1 0 0-0 2. TOTALS -- 13 2 14-20 46.
Chevoya Jackson 4 2 3-4 17, Clintoria Bryant 3 3 0-0 15, Jessica Faison 4 0 1-3 9, Shemika Hardy 4 0 0-2 8, Mikeda Graham 3 0 0-1 6, April Reid 1 0 1-2 3, Helga Bryant 0 1 0-0 3, Ashelyn James 1 0 0-0 2, Dominique Cherry 1 0 0-0 2, Carmille Early 0 0 2-2 2. TOTALS -- 21 6 7-14 67.
Three-point baskets -- White Oak 2 (Pousson 2), Goldsboro 6 (C. Bryant 3, Jackson 2, H. Bryant). Turnovers -- White Oak 28, Goldsboro 15. Total fouls -- White Oak 13, Goldsboro 12. Fouled out -- none. Technicals -- none.
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