02/23/05 — C.B. Aycock women claim 'ugly' playoff win

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C.B. Aycock women claim 'ugly' playoff win

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 23, 2005 2:01 PM

PIKEVILLE - Ugly, unintense and unemotional.

Veteran Charles B. Aycock women's basketball coach Gary Hales used those adjectives to describe his team's effort Tuesday evening against Smithfield-Selma. Had you not seen the game and listened to Hales' narrative in the postgame interview, you'd think the Golden Falcons had lost.

Not quite.

However, Hales and his players certainly experienced disappointment after their 37-32 victory against Smithfield-Selma. They recognized the Spartans' effort and commended their hard play in the opening-round, N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A playoff game.

"We survived," Hales said. "We didn't deserve to win. They deserved to win because they played much harder than we did. They deserve to go (on in the playoffs), but we're the ones moving on."

C.B. Aycock (17-9) defeated a playoff opponent on its home court for the first time since 2002 and remained unbeaten in three home playoff outings since 2001. The Golden Falcons continue play Thursday at Northeastern Coastal champion Bertie. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Hales has guided his program to six post-season victories in 10 tries since 2001. This win left Hales wondering where was the team that took county rival Goldsboro to the limit three days ago in the Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference tournament final.

"It was a lack of desire ... lack of effort," Hales said. "I don't know if the Goldsboro game took that much out of us because we were not ready to play at all. Maybe the realization that there is no tomorrow sank in with some of them.

"We did just enough to get a win."

The Golden Falcons reached the second round of the playoffs for the fourth time in six attempts. They climbed to 2-0 in the post-season against SSS, including an 11-point triumph in the 2002 sectional No. 3 championship game.

Smithfield-Selma exited 9-17 overall.

Playing with a "nothing to lose" attitude, the Spartans controlled the opening tip and executed their strategy well in the opening quarter. They shortened the game with lengthy possessions and got solid post play from Brittany Sellers and Lanisha Hinnant, who combined for 10 of their 12 points.

Meanwhile, the Golden Falcons struggled offensively. Lela Reid converted their Aycock's first field goal at the 1:44 mark on Quaneisha Milner's assist -- one of seven for the game.

The Spartans led 12-2.

"I don't know where we were at tonight," Milner said. "You would have thought from the Goldsboro game that we'd have more intensity, but we weren't mentally ready ... just weren't there."

The missed shots prevented Aycock from establishing its press and creating an up-tempo style of play. When Milner hit her first shot, a floating 10-footer, Aycock switched to another gear.

Milner slapped the ball away from Spartan point guard Rejess Marshall and collected an uncontested layup. Reid tied the game at 14-14 on Milner's no-look pass in the lane and Keyata Pettiford gave Aycock the lead for good at 17-14 on a 3-pointer.

Aycock led 19-16 at halftime.

"We can't stand out there and take 18-footers all night," Hales said. "We adjusted, made sure we started attacking and we got a few shots to fall. We applied a little pressure and that helped, also.

"But we were a step slow all night."

Aycock grabbed its biggest lead, 32-23, early in the fourth quarter. Sierrah Pearson's eight-footer off Jocelyn Gaines' assist, and Angie Blake's layup off a steal closed the gap to 32-27.

Sellers converted an old-fashioned three-point play with 50.2 seconds remaining, pulling the Spartans within 34-32. The Golden Falcons responded with a key offensive putback by Pettiford and an Emily Stewart free throw to secure the win.

Sellers led all scorers with 20 points.

"We knew that if we lost this game, you were done for your high school career -- especially the four seniors," Milner said of Pettiford, Reid, Danielle Street and Alisa Dobbin. "I didn't play to my full level and they didn't play to their full level. We didn't win the game, but survived."