02/09/05 — Saints march to ECC championship

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Saints march to ECC championship

By Neil Fuller
Published in Sports on February 9, 2005 2:02 PM

Mike Connelly asked only one thing of his players before the start of the season: a berth in the NCHSAA playoffs. The Southern Wayne men's basketball team gave its first-year coach that and much more.

The visiting Saints overcame a career-high 41 points by sophomore forward Tim Kornegay -- and a nagging flu bug -- to defeat Goldsboro High 94-91 on Tuesday night and clinch the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference regular-season championship.

Southern Wayne (15-8 overall, 12-3 ECC) completed the road portion of its conference schedule with a perfect 8-0 record -- all while spoiling the Cougars' Senior Night festivities.

"It feels really good to win the conference, but being 8-0 on the road is an incredible statistic," Connelly said. "I'm very pleased that, despite how sick everyone was, they sucked it up and played so hard. I'm very pleased with what we've done."

Derek Garris scored 16 of his 24 points in the crucial fourth quarter, and the Saints burned nearly 40 seconds off the clock in the final minute to hold on.

Goldsboro (11-12, 7-9) falls below .500 for the first time this season with the setback and must now win next week's ECC tournament in order to qualify for the NCHSAA playoffs.

Sophomore forward Daquan Joyner scored a career-high 31 points in the loss.

Joyner put back his own miss as time expired in the first half to draw the Cougars into a 44-all tie at the break.

"We got everything every one of our kids had," Goldsboro coach Randy Jordan said. "All 12 of our guys contributed. All 12 of them put their hearts and souls into this effort, and I'm very proud of them."

Akeem Royal shook off symptoms of the flu to record four straight 3-pointers during the opening minutes, giving the Saints an early 14-4 lead.

Royal finished with 18 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the field after seeing only limited action.

Delawn Armwood scored 23 points for Southern Wayne, and Antonio Davis added 18.

"I thought Akeem really stepped up," Connelly said. "We've been getting great point distribution all year. Great teams don't have high-scoring individuals, they have balance. We've had guys step up all year, and I thought tonight was a microcosm of that."

Goldsboro women 68,

S. Wayne 23

The Goldsboro women shut out Southern Wayne during the first 71/2 minutes in racing out to a 23-0 lead.

Chevoya Jackson recorded game-highs in points (19) and assists (seven), and Ashelyn James added 17 points and 16 rebounds as the Cougars won their 32nd straight ECC game with a 68-23 blowout of the Saints.

Goldsboro (21-3, 16-0) enters next week's conference tournament as the three-time defending regular-season champion.

"The girls really executed tonight, because they knew executing and playing hard was what got us where we are," Cougars coach Gladys McClary said. "I was proud of them. They knew they had a job to do before they started celebrating Senior Night."

Jessica Faison had 13 points and eight rebounds for Goldsboro, which led 35-5 at halftime.

Shakoria Clark and Dionne Dotson scored five each for Southern Wayne (5-14, 4-11).