01/09/05 — Goldsboro High teams sweep at S. Wayne

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Goldsboro High teams sweep at S. Wayne

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on January 9, 2005 2:02 AM

DUDLEY -- Southern Wayne entered Friday's contest against county rival Goldsboro as the lone unbeaten team in the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference ranks.

The Saints no longer hold that distinction.

Goldsboro held Southern Wayne without a field goal in the final 2 minutes, 43 seconds and pulled away for a 65-51 victory. The Cougars finished first-half play in the ECC at 6-2, while the Saints dropped their first league contests in seven outings.

While the men's game featured run after run, the women's game held little drama. In fact, that was the perfect time for the standing-room-only crowd to visit the restroom or the concession stand. They certainly wouldn't have missed any action on the court.

Southern Wayne (3-8, 2-5) played "stall ball" against the more-athletic and talented Cougars in a 32-12 loss. First-year coach Sally Combs employed the strategy to disrupt Goldsboro's chemistry and give her young team an opportunity to stay within striking distance.

The Cougars (13-2, 8-0) raced to a 4-0 lead within in the first minute before the Saints started executing Combs' game plan. Shakoria Clark, Ebony Darden and Dionne Dotson stood near the free throw line, practicing their passing drills while Goldsboro sat back defensively.

The ploy drew mixed reactions from the crowd.

As she watched the Saints dribble monotonously near the midcourt stripe, Goldsboro coach Gladys McClary had flashbacks to a game 23 years ago against Eastern Wayne. Then a player for the Cougarettes, McClary remembered the same tactic produced a 6-4 Goldsboro win.

"Absolutely a good game plan," McClary said. "This type of game plan really tests your focus and concentration. (The delay game) can rock you to sleep if you let it. The next thing you know you have a game on your hands.

"I commend her (Combs) for her game plan, but I commend my girls for not going to sleep."

The delay tactics caused frustration for the Cougars, who rely on their pressure defense to create offense. Southern Wayne held the ball for six-plus minutes in the second quarter before Dotson penetrated and got caught in a double team near the far corner.

Dotson threw a couple of elbows and received the offensive foul, which gave possession to Goldsboro. McClary's team struck quickly with Chevoya Jackson's 3-pointer and Ashelyn James' layup off a turnover in the full-court press.

"I thought the game plan was pretty good," Combs said. "The problem we had was we couldn't switch gears when it was time to switch. It's still a learning experience, something more to work on.

"We wanted to keep it close and when it came down to crunch time, flip the switch and go. We didn't go."

The Cougars led 9-0 at halftime and 17-0 after three quarters.

That's right -- 17-0.

Southern Wayne's Felicia Martin finally broke a 25-minute scoring drought with a free throw at the 6:59 mark of the final quarter. Dotson hit the Saints' first field goal -- a 3-pointer -- about two minutes later.

Before those baskets, the Saints had more turnovers (9) than field goal attempts (7).

"At halftime, they were just so shocked at what was going on," said McClary, whose team is 45-7 all-time in ECC regular-season play. "I told them why she (Combs) was doing it and what we needed to do (to win).

"And we did it."

A five-minute stretch in the third quarter nearly proved disastrous for Goldsboro's boys. They owned an 11-point lead at halftime, but watched the Saints whittle the deficit to 43-39 at the 2:27 mark. Derek Garris' layup, off the visitors' sixth turnover of the period, capped the quick spurt.

Southern Wayne kept it a two-possession game and trailed 47-41 after three quarters.

"We dug a real deep hole and we battled back well, but we could never get over the hump," Saints coach Mike Connelley said. "We couldn't get it down close enough and I thought they played great defense on us."

Down 49-45 midway through the fourth period, the Saints had five chances to pull within two or one. They came up empty each time and the Cougars (10-4, 6-2) maintained their four-point lead.

The teams traded baskets on four consecutive possessions before Goldsboro increased its defensive intensity.

Goldsboro's Tim Kornegay held Akeem Royal -- a streak shooter -- to one second-half field goal, while Daquan Joyner asserted himself underneath the basket. The Cougars denied the open shot on the perimeter, closed down the passing lanes and began dominating the boards.

The result led to a game-clinching 10-0 run. The Saints failed to convert their final 10 possessions of the game.

"I thought we did a great defensively man-to-man all night," Goldsboro coach Randy Jordan said. "We tried to take away some things they did offensively and we played with a lot of intensity tonight."

Kornegay and De'onta Anderson led four Cougars in double figures with 16 points apiece. Joyner added 12, while Joe Houpe chipped in 11.

Derek Garris had 13 for the Saints.