01/23/05 — First-place Spring Creek explodes on North Duplin

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First-place Spring Creek explodes on North Duplin

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on January 23, 2005 2:02 AM

CALYPSO - No comeback this time.

Spring Creek's varsity men found their offensive rhythm early, posted a 31-point first quarter and turned back archrival North Duplin 94-61 in Class 1-A Carolina Conference play Friday evening.

Lauren Blackmore netted a career-high 21 points, including 12 in the second half, and led the Rebel women to their season-best third consecutive win, 61-35.

Each team continues league play next Tuesday. Spring Creek entertains Princeton, while North Duplin welcomes North Johnston. The junior varsity boys tip off at 4:30 p.m. at each site.

Unlike Tuesday's come-from-behind win against North Johnston, second-year Gators coach Sonny Kilpatrick never broke a sweat on the bench. He didn't need to worry about overcoming a 19-point deficit after watching his team bury five 3-pointers in the opening quarter and shoot better than 60 percent from the floor.

North Duplin senior Brad Lloyd scored the first basket - a driving layup off brother Doug's assist. The Gators (11-4, 6-1 Carolina) answered with an 18-0 run before Lloyd drained a short jumper off Matt Braswell's assist to end a five-minute scoring drought.

"When my guys get hot ... all four on the perimeter hitting 3s, we can put some points up in a hurry," Kilpatrick said. "We did well. We played hard tonight."

All five starters scratched in the scoring column in the first period for the Gators. Josh Bishop emerged the front-runner with 10 points, while Chris Wright added eight and Dalreese Bell contributed seven. Bell, Wright and Mychael King combined for 11 assists.

"They shot it extremely well and just got out to a quick start," said Rebels coach Ricky Edwards. "We just couldn't stop it, and I was pleased that we played hard until the final buzzer. Bishop did a fantastic job of when he wasn't scoring by getting the ball to people."

Bishop dished out four second-quarter assists and six overall as Spring Creek led 56-25 at halftime. The Rebels (3-10 overall) played much better in the second half and outscored the Gators in the third quarter.

Kilpatrick complimented North Duplin on its scrappy style of play and said he didn't feel comfortable with a 20-point lead. Each coach substituted liberally throughout the third quarter, and both teams concluded the game with their reserves on the court.

Bishop led five Gators, who handed out a season-high 30 team assists, with 16 points. Chris Wright added 14, followed by Josh Wright with 13. King finished with 12 points, while Cody Rose came off the bench to score a career-high 12, too.

Braswell scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Rebels, who are 0-7 in Carolina play for the first time in Edwards' 19 seasons in Calypso. Brad Lloyd added 12 points.

"I thought North Duplin is as scrappy as any team I've ever seen," Kilpatrick said. "I know they don't have the talent they have had in the past, but they're still a hard-working, scrappy ball club. I give coach Edwards and the ball players credit for that."

Blackmore assumed the scoring responsibilty for the Rebel girls since the Gators double-teamed Sierra Ward on the perimeter. Ward had scored in double figures 11 times and led the team in scoring on 10 occasions.

Spring Creek denied Ward the ball, which forced Blackmore to find other options. She fired two assists to Emily Diebert in the opening quarter and tallied five points as the Rebels used a 9-0 run to take control of the game.

"Lauren has been battling injuries this year and she's just now getting back into game shape," North Duplin coach Danny Blackburn said. "We knew they were going to come after Sierra, so that's why we've got to play team ball against everybody.

"That's the way you win basketball games."

Spring Creek (1-14, 0-7) struggled with turnovers and missed numerous shots in the paint. The Gators trailed 27-11 at halftime.

While poor shooting bothered first-year coach Amanda Ramfjord, she praised the effort of reserve Barbara Witherington and starting guard Vanity Brooks. Witherington tallied a team- and career-high 15 points to go along with four steals and seven rebounds. Brooks contributed eight points and 12 rebounds.

"Barbara and Vanity stepped up big for me tonight," Ramfjord said. "They played well together the whole night. Not either one of them quit. They played great defense.

"I told them in the locker room that if we had 100 percent, like Vanity and Barbara did tonight, we'd win a lot of ball games."

Notes: Spring Creek's men collected 11 3-pointers, giving them 144 for the season. ... The Gators are 35-8 all-time in Carolina Conference regular-season play. ... Daniel Correll came off the bench and scored a career-high 7 points. ... North Duplin's women are 3-3 at home this season, while Spring Creek is 1-9 on the road.