Jackson shows heart in 4th quarter
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 5, 2004 1:58 PM
GREENVILLE -- Midway through the fourth quarter, a Goldsboro fan noticed that Chevoya Jackson appeared injured and nearly every head turned toward the court.
Jackson, who was suffering from cramps, limped downcourt after teammate Clintoria Bryant put the ball in play. Seconds later, a deadball situation gave coach Gladys McClary a chance to take Jackson out of the game.
The sophomore headed toward the water cooler, hoping a cool drink would provide momentary relief. But the cramps continued and the frustration mounted when Jackson's mom, who is a nurse, urged her not to return to the game.
McClary placed Mikeda Graham into the game and gave her the assignment of guarding McDonald's All-American Karlyle Lim, who has signed with Pittsburgh. Graham guarded Lim well and came out of the game after getting whistled for a blocking foul.
Lim hit the free throw to make it 39-32.
By that time Jackson, on the verge of tears, did an unusual thing. She gobbled down a packet of mustard, and then pleaded her case to McClary. The veteran coach sent her to the scorer's table and Jackson responded from McClary's confident move.
Jackson buried a 3-pointer to give Goldsboro a 42-33 lead.
"Heart," Bryant said of Jackson's gutty play.
"You're right," McClary added. "That shows her mind was in the game. Some people come out of the game and get a little cold. It usually takes them two or three minutes to get warmed up again.
"For her to come out because she was cramping, then goes through that with her mom and then comes back to me crying ..."
Jackson's 3-pointer occurred after East Chapel Hill's Ambrosia Barnette got fouled on an offensive putback, but made just one free throw. Jackson followed that by hitting the front end of a two-shot free-throw situation after getting fouled on a defensive rebound.
Goldsboro led 43-33.
Despite the nagging cramps, Jackson continued to play. She handled the ball well against the Wildcats' pressure, and dished out two key assists -- one each to Ashelyn James and Shemika Hardy. Both passes led to scores as Goldsboro maintained a six-point advantage in the final two minutes.
"She did a really good job," McClary said.
Jackson emerged the game's leading scorer with 18 points to go along with six rebounds, five assists, two steals and one blocked shot.
When the final horn sounded, Jackson fell to the floor and the emotion freely flowed. She cried as McClary, athletics director Randy Jordan, her mom and a trainer attended to her cramping muscles.
McClary sighed in relief in her post-game interview.
"She's doing a lot better now," McClary said.
And so are the rest of the Cougars, who continue the quest for their final preseason goal -- a state championship -- early Saturday evening.
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