01/27/05 — Goldsboro women clinch another ECC regular-season crown

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Goldsboro women clinch another ECC regular-season crown

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on January 27, 2005 1:56 PM

WASHINGTON - Conference champs ... again.

The Goldsboro High women's basketball team claimed a share of its third consecutive Class 3-A Eastern Carolina regular-season title with a 50-31 conquest of Washington on Wednesday evening. The Cougars extended their ECC regular-season win streak to 28 games heading into Friday's home encounter against South Central.

Daquan Joyner drained 7 of 8 free throws and finished with a double-double -- 17 points, 10 rebounds -- as the Cougar men prevailed 71-69. Goldsboro (11-8) snapped its four-game skid and seized sole possession of third place in the ECC at 7-5.

"I am relieved," said Cougar women's coach Gladys McClary as she wiped her dry-erase board.

Who could blame her?

Goldsboro labored through a sluggish first half. The Cougars converted 10 field goals and committed 10 turnovers. Each time they attempted to pull away from the Pam Pack, they'd rush a shot or lose possession of a rebound -- offensively or defensively.

McClary attributed the lethargic play to the two-hour bus ride and a physical contest 24 hours earlier against West Carteret.

"The girls slept all the way here and that was a concern," McClary said. "I kept my fingers crossed and hoped that they would play through all that fatigue from the ride and last night."

McClary admitted she presented a stern lecture at halftime.

"I let them know exactly what we were not doing," McClary said. "We weren't boxing out, running in transition, weren't moving on defense and we were reaching (for the ball). We were doing all those things that lazy people do."

The Cougars heard her message -- loud and clear.

Goldsboro (17-3, 12-0 ECC) exited the locker room with some energy and carried that onto the court in the third quarter. Working from their man-to-man defense, the Cougars' backcourt of Chevoya Jackson and Mikeda Graham combined for seven steals in an 11-2 run.

Jackson dished out four of her game-high seven assists during that stretch and added seven points.

"We're a small team so defense is going to have to be key for us," McClary said. "The third quarter they buckled down, bent those knees and got their hands up, denying the passing lanes and did a good job.

"That's what starts the transition. When you get easy baskets off transition, it motivates you to step up with your offense."

Jackson finished with a game-high 17 points, while Ashelyn James provided 13. Six players scored for Goldsboro, which boosted its all-time ECC regular-season record to 49-7 since the league's inception in 2001.

Meredith Knox led the Pam Pack with nine points.

Fatigue also factored into the men's game.

Midway through the third period, Goldsboro coach Randy Jordan commented his team had nearly lost its intensity. The Cougars missed several short jumpers underneath the basket and struggled to hold onto rebounds.

The coaching staff made two or three substitutions that proved critical in a tight, gut-wrenching fourth quarter.

Washington (7-13, 2-10) forced four consecutive turnovers in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter en route to a 9-0 run. Calvin Daniels (game-high 25 points) and Tremayne Spencer intercepted passes near the perimeter and converted each into uncontested layups.

Jovany Angeles gave the Pam Pack their first lead, 53-52, on a 3-pointer off another turnover. William Conner's free throws, after getting fouled on an offensive rebound, boosted the advantage to 57-53.

"We called timeout and reminded them 'fellas, this our game to win,'" Jordan said. "I said they've used up almost everything they have to get to this point. Let's keep believing in each other, execute what we have to do in the halfcourt set and we should be okay."

Joyner and Tim Kornegay asserted themselves in the paint and kept the Cougars within striking distance. Kornegay's old-fashioned three-point play tied the game at 62-62 with 3:29 remaining.

The teams each traded two turnovers with Washington ahead 65-64 as the clock ticked under two minutes. Joyner stayed active in the lane and converted two passes from Raheem Lofton into baskets, bringing a small but loud section of Cougar fans to their feet. The second basket gave Goldsboro a 70-69 lead with less than 30 seconds to go.

Angeles dribbled into the frontcourt and looked down low to either Daniels, Conner or Spencer. He bounced the ball to Daniels, who split the defense and agonizingly watched his layup roll off the rim into Joyner's hands.

Joyner drained his final free throw with 1 second left in the game.

"We found a way to win a close game," said Jordan, whose team has lost five games by three points or less this season. "I couldn't be more proud of them, but the thing I like the most is that every guy -- all 12 -- contributed to that win.

"That win was a long time coming for these kids."