North Pitt sweeps Goldsboro
By News-Argus Staff
Published in Sports on February 12, 2006 2:30 AM
Goldsboro senior guard Chevoya Jackson scored nine fourth-quarter points -- including a 3-pointer that tied North Pitt at 60-60 with 20 seconds to play -- to lead the Lady Cougars on an 11-point comeback in the game's final eight minutes on Friday night.
But she had to watch the final five seconds of the 63-60 loss -- perhaps her last high school home game -- from the bench.
Jackson and freshman Kiana Williams notched 14 of the team's 19 points in the quarter, but neither hot shooter had the ball in her hands when Goldsboro had a chance to win the game with about 15 seconds to play.
After a free-throw put North Pitt ahead 61-60, Jackson passed to Mikeda Graham. She never got the ball back in her hands. Graham missed a shot from the right corner with more than 10 seconds on the clock.
When North Pitt's Makeea Suggs came down with the long rebound, Jackson went for the ball near mid-court and got whistled for her fifth personal foul.
Despite the protests of coach Gladys McClary -- Jackson, who scored 29 points -- headed to the bench.
"I thought he called the foul on somebody else," Jackson said.
After Suggs hit both free throws to put the Panthers ahead 63-60, Graham, the only other returning starter from last year's state playoff team, missed a rushed 3-pointer as time expired.
With Jackson on the bench, there wasn't a player on the floor accustomed to taking high-pressure shots.
"When she fouled out, we lost that leadership that we normally have on the floor," McClary said. "It wasn't the shot I would have wanted (Mikeda) to take, but she was one of the only ones out there that would have dared to take the shot."
It was at that moment that McClary wished that 2005 graduate Ashelyn James -- whose No. 44 was retired during a ceremony at the half of the boys' game, a 72-63 North Pitt win -- could have come in for a cameo for the game's final seconds.
The inside presence of James, who scored more than 2,000 points in just three seasons at Goldsboro High, was missed throughout the Lady Cougars 2-8 (10-13 overall) Eastern Plains Conference season. It is McClary's first losing season in eight years as Goldsboro's coach.
Of course, Goldsboro wouldn't have found itself in the position of relying on inexperienced players to take the game-winner if North Pitt hadn't gone on an 8-0 run in the first 1:40 of the second half to go ahead 40-31.
While Jackson was disappointed to take the loss on senior night, she was confident that the Lady Cougars will get one more chance to play a home game this year -- during the conference tournament.
"It's not my last game, we're going to be playing here again," Jackson said.
For the Lady Cougars to earn a home game, they'll have to win one conference tournament game on the road -- Monday's first-round game against Greene Central at Farmville Central.
The night's second game saw the Goldsboro boys team, which claimed the conference's top spot with its win over North Lenoir on Tuesday, play well for only about 10 of 32 minutes.
A 6-0 run to start the second half -- two baskets by Joe Houpe and a lay-up by Burnie Best -- cut the North Pitt lead to 33-32, but the Panthers exploited the Cougars' 2-2-1 full-court defense to score 23 of the game's next 30 points.
Goldsboro coach Randy Jordan seemed wedded to the defense, despite North Pitt's easy time against it in the third quarter, which ended with the Panthers leading 56-39.
"It was the right choice, we just didn't defend," he said. "You can 'X' and 'O' all you want, but unless your players execute, it doesn't matter. In the fourth quarter, we executed."
North Pitt coach Greg Ashorn was impressed with the way his team handled the Cougars' defense.
"We prepared for it," he said. "It's not the most aggressive press in the world. It's just long and rangy, and if you execute, you beat it."
With guard Edwin Heath (10 points) directing traffic and finding players like Juante Johnson (21 points) and Antwan Williams (11 points) for easy baskets, North Pitt's lead stretched to 21 points (a 64-43 lead with fewer than five minutes to play) before Goldsboro mounted a comeback.
Eric McLean (5 points) and Raheem Lofton (13 points) hit one 3-pointer each while Daquan Joyner (15 points) worked under the basket to collect a handful of offensive rebounds and six points as the Cougars worked their way back to 65-59 with 1:42 in the game.
Jordan made five-player substitutions, like a hockey coach changing lines, four times in the last 50 seconds in an effort to get a steal or force a bad pass from North Pitt.
"It was a matter of 'offense-defense,'" Jordan said. "The five that we put in are a little bit better defensive players."
It almost worked, as Tim Kornegay thought he had caused a turnover at one point late in the game, but the referees awarded the ball back to North Pitt.
"If that call goes our way, now it might be a different game, and the tactic works," Jordan said.
From that point on, Goldsboro was reduced to fouling North Pitt, and the Panthers made 5-of-6 free-throws in the last half-minute to seal the game.
The significance of the win, heading into the conference tournament, wasn't lost on Ashorn.
"Yeah, there's something there," he said. "We beat the (conference) champions."
Goldsboro and North Pitt's boys received a first-round bye for the EPC tourney and will both host semifinal contests on Wednesday. The top-seeded Cougars will host the winner of No. 5 Greene Central and No. 4 Farmville Central, while the second-seed Panthers take on the winner of No. 6 Tarboro and No. 3 North Lenoir in Bethel.
North Pitt 18 14 18 13 -- 63
Goldsboro 18 13 10 19 -- 60
NORTH PITT (7-14, 1-9)
Yasmen Harely 1 0 0-0 2, Tiffany Shaw 1 3 2-4 13, Nikki Langley 1 0 0-0 2, Stefanie Moore 2 1 4-6 11, Akega Andrews 1 0 0-0 2, Makeea Suggs 6 0 2-2 14, Naquasia Howard 5 0 2-6 12, Teera Clark 2 0 2-2 6, Amber Sharp 0 0 1-2 1. TOTALS -- 19 4 13-22 63.
GOLDSBORO (2-8, 10-13)
Carmille Early 1 0 0-0 2, Angel Roberts 1 0 1-2 3, Chevoya Jackson 9 2 5-7 29, Kiana Williams 6 1 0-0 15, Tiffany Burden 0 0 0-2 0, Danielle Irby 4 0 0-2 8, Mikeda Graham 1 0 1-2 3. TOTALS -- 22 3 7-15 60.
3-point goals -- North Pitt 4 (Shaw 3, Moore), Goldsboro 3 (Jackson 2, Williams). Total Fouls -- Goldsboro 19, North Pitt 11. Turnovers -- North Pitt 22, Goldsboro 16. Fouled out -- Jackson. Technicals: Goldsboro -- Graham, North Pitt -- Andrews.
North Pitt 12 21 23 16 -- 72
Goldsboro 12 14 11 24 -- 63
NORTH PITT (7-3, 11-8)
Cory Ward 3 0 4-4 10, Kajuan Williams 1 0 0-0 2, Antwan Williams 4 0 3-4 11, Edwin Heath 2 0 6-8 10, Juante Johnson 10 0 1-4 21, Josh Jones 6 0 0-1 12, Michael Durham 1 0 0-0 2, Andrew Tillery 0 0 4-6 4. TOTALS -- 27 0 18-27 72.
GOLDSBORO (8-2, 15-9)
Branden Herring 2 0 0-0 4, Burnie Best 3 0 0-0 6, Eric McLean 1 1 0-0 5, Tim Kornegay 5 0 2-2 12, Raheem Lofton 3 1 4-4 13, Treme Boone 1 0 2-2 4, Joe Houpe 2 0 0-0 4, Daquan Joyner 6 0 3-8 15. TOTALS -- 23 2 11-16 63.
3-point goals -- Goldsboro 2 (McLean, Lofton), North Pitt 0. Total Fouls -- Goldsboro 19, North Pitt 13. Turnovers -- North Pitt 16, Goldsboro 11. Fouled out -- None. Technicals: None.
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