01/10/07 — Defending EPC champions continue struggles on hardwood

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Defending EPC champions continue struggles on hardwood

By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on January 10, 2007 2:37 PM

The Goldsboro Cougars knew as the defending Eastern Plains Conference champion they would have a bull's-eye on their chests this season.

Through two conference games, both of their opponents have drilled the mark.

Tarboro knocked off Goldsboro on Friday and Farmville Central did the trick on Tuesday night.

The Jaguars built a 20-point halftime lead and held off a furious Goldsboro rally to hand the Cougars their second straight defeat, 89-81, in Goldsboro.

"We're going to get everyone's best effort -- we expected that, but we haven't responded to that," said Cougar coach Randy Jordan. "We gave no effort in the first half. We let them do whatever they wanted to however they wanted to."

The Cougars have gone through spurts this season where their intensity has been lacking -- and it's because of that inconsistent effort that they've now dropped five of their past seven games to fall to 10-6 (0-2) following an impressive 8-1 start.

"(Farmville Central) played with intensity for (the first) 16 minutes," said Jordan. "Then in the last 16 minutes, we played with the same intensity as they did."

It was that high intensity level that allowed Farmville Central to grab the momentum after Goldsboro had gone ahead 10-9 in the first quarter.

The Jaguars outscored the Cougars 18-6 the rest of the period to go up 27-16 at the end of one quarter.

Goldsboro looked to have stymied the run as it pulled to within 32-25 with 5:07 to go in the second quarter, but the Jaguars' Tarrell Barrett took over.

Barrett scored 10 straight points on a variety of dunks, treys and putbacks to get Farmville Central back up by 12.

The rattled Cougar team's shaky play on both ends led to transition opportunities for the Jaguars -- who seemed to make every possession count as they built a 54-34 lead at the half.

"I thought our intensity level was probably the highest it's been all year," Farmville coach Larry Williford said of his team's play in the first half.

The intensity level, which was severely lacking in the first half for Goldsboro, came in the second.

The Cougars started the third quarter on a 14-3 run to cut the deficit to single digits at 57-48 following a three from Burnie Best.

With the momentum and a boisterous Goldsboro crowd on their side, the Cougars' run expanded to 18-5 after a jump shot from Tim Hobbs and a layup from Jameson Wellington, cutting the lead to seven at 59-52.

The lead returned to 10 at the end of the period, but Goldsboro had one final run in it.

Back-to-back conventional three-point plays from McDonald's All-American Candidate Tim Kornegay to open the quarter pulled the Cougars to within four at 66-62.

With 6:31 to play, the Cougars had the ball trailing by the same margin.

Four straight miss shots -- three of which came from behind the arc -- and two turnovers later, Farmville Central had held off the Cougar run and pushed its lead back to 13 with 4:38 to play.

"At that point, we told them we did not need three-pointers," said Jordan. "We needed two-point baskets. If we had come down and kept doing what was working, which was pounding the ball inside to Daquan (Joyner), Tim (Kornegay), Tremé (Boone) and Hobbs ... who knows? We just have to be smarter in those situations."

Goldsboro would never get closer than six the rest of the way.

"The last 16 minutes we dominated the game," said Jordan. "We had it to four, but you can't dig those kinds of holes and expect to win -- especially in your own gym.

"Maybe we took for granted that it's our building and we don't lose very often here."

Knocking off the homestanding Cougars served as a big accomplishment for Williford's Jaguars.

"This is a program win," said Williford, whose team handed Goldsboro their first home loss this season. "This is probably our biggest road win in the six years I've been here. I'm proud of our team."

Kornegay led Goldsboro with 24 points. East Carolina signee Joyner added 14 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks while Best came away with five of Goldsboro's 16 steals.

Goldsboro next travels to play North Lenoir on Friday in a surprising matchup of teams with 0-2 conference records.

"We're staring up from the bottom now," said Jordan.

The Lady Cougars fell victim to the same lack of intensity that troubled the boys as they fell to Farmville Central 60-45.

Despite a fast start, Goldsboro fell behind by 10 in the second quarter and never recovered.

"We started out playing very well," said first-year Goldsboro coach Brandy Smith, whose team once led by six in the first quarter. "I had no clue it was going to turn into a game like this."

The Cougars were led by Danielle Irby's 12 points and Millicent Kornegay -- who nearly recorded a double-double off the bench by scoring nine points and pulling down 12 rebounds.

"Millicent has improved big time," said Smith. "Her confidence is going up."

Crystal Smith scored a game-high 16 points to lead four players in double figures for the Jaguars.

The game looked as if it would go down to the wire as Goldsboro trailed by just two, 20-18, with 2:24 in the first half following two free throws from Irby.

Farmville Central closed the half though on a 10-4 run to go up 30-22 at the break.

In the third quarter, the Jaguars scored 10 straight points on easy layups before Irby's jump shot gave Goldsboro its first points of the second half with 4:08 to go in the quarter.

"They played quicker than we did, but they're not quicker than us," said Smith. "They were more aggressive than we were and it hurt us big time. We've got to pick it up."

With Farmville Central seemingly a step faster to every loose ball and against every Goldsboro defender, the lead ballooned to as many as 26 in the second half.

The lone bright spot was the play of Kornegay, who capped a 9-0 fourth-quarter Goldsboro run with an old-fashioned three-point play and pulled down five rebounds in the period.

"Millicent really showed me a lot in the fourth quarter," said Smith. "She did the things I've been asking of her from day one."

The loss drops the Cougars to 2-13 (0-2 in the EPC).

Boys Game

Farmville Central 27 27 12 23 -- 89

Goldsboro 16 18 22 25 -- 81


Tarrell Barrett 6 2 3-5 21, Devon Atkinson 5 1 2-3 15, Kenyon Tuten 7 0 1-2 15, Kajon Farron 3 0 4-6 10, Richard Williams 3 1 0-0 9, Lee Lenear 3 1 0-0 9, Bradley Hughes 3 0 0-0 6, Devaughn Gibbs 2 0 0-0 4. TOTALS -- 32 5 10-16 89.

GOLDSBORO (10-6, 0-2)

Tim Kornegay 10 0 4-6 24, Daquan Joyner 4 2 0-0 14, Eric McLean 2 1 2-2 9, Kevonta McDuffie 3 0 1-2 7, Tremé Boone 3 0 0-0 6, Burnie Best 1 1 0-1 5, Tim Hobbs 2 0 1-1 5, Antonio Green 2 0 1-1 5, Jameson Wellington 2 0 0-0 4, Jamar Branch 1 0 0-0 2. TOTALS -- 30 4 9-13 81.

Girls Game

Farmville Central 12 18 18 12 -- 60

Goldsboro 10 12 8 15 -- 45


Crystal Smith 6 0 4-5 16, Gecora Brown 3 1 5-7 14, Stephony Newkirk 2 0 8-8 12, Alexis Blow 5 0 0-0 10, Brittany Speight 4 0 0-1 8, Brittany Griffin 0 0 0-2 0. TOTALS -- 20 1 17-23 60.

GOLDSBORO (2-13, 0-2)

Danielle Irby 5 0 2-4 12, Millicent Kornegay 4 0 1-1 9, Carmille Early 4 0 0-0 8, Johneshia Maye 2 0 2-3 6, Zeara McDuffie 2 0 0-0 4, Tiffany Burden 2 0 0-2 4, Victoria Williams 1 0 0-0 2. TOTALS -- 20 0 5-10 45.