01/21/07 — Goldsboro boys endure another fourth-quarter collapse

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Goldsboro boys endure another fourth-quarter collapse

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on January 21, 2007 2:01 AM

SNOW HILL -- No killer instinct.

Lack of mental toughness.

Missing maturity.

Goldsboro High head men's basketball coach Randy Jordan spouted all those characteristics, which are synonymous with veteran teams. But those traits are missing from his 12-player varsity squad this season.

The Cougars suffered yet another second-half collapse Friday evening at Class 2-A Eastern Plains Conference-leading Greene Central. Goldsboro manufactured a double-digit advantage off its pressure defense, but couldn't keep the momentum when it counted the most.

Inspired by the death of assistant coach Kevin Hart, which occurred five days ago, the Rams weathered the pressure and prevailed 88-85 before a packed house. Greene Central (12-5 overall) remained unbeaten in four EPC outings, while Goldsboro (11-7) dropped to 1-3 in the league.

"We're just not mature enough to handle success when it comes our way and we are not mentally tough," said Jordan. "Physically, all the pieces are there and we're outstanding in that aspect. We just have to put all those pieces together."

Trailing 39-36 early in the third quarter, Goldsboro turned the slim deficit into a 55-41 advantage with about three minutes remaining. The Cougars converted eight of nine possessions during that stretch and bothered the Rams with their defensive pressure.

But Greene Central answered.

Chevalier Howell and senior Brandon Sutton started a momentum-changing run that electrified a quiet home crowd. The Cougars had players out of position as they failed to execute their press-breaker offense.

Greene Central benefited from the mistakes and pulled within 59-54 after three quarters. Howell's layup and Reggie Johnson's 3-pointer off Howell's assist completely erased the visitors' lead less than a minute into the final period.

"We had been working a little bit on our 1-2-2 full-court zone press," said second-year Greene Central coach Robert Browning. "It just seemed like one or two steals, a deflected pass and then we started getting momentum. That played a big factor."

Johnson's 3-pointer gave the Rams its first lead, 66-65, since early in the opening quarter. The teams battled through four ties and five lead changes until Howell drained a layup to put Greene Central ahead 72-70.

The Cougars fell behind 79-72, but climbed within a single possession on three occasions. The Rams polished off their home victory with a 9 of 10 performance at the free throw line in the last 100 seconds.

Howell led three Greene Central players in double figures with 26 points. Johnson added 24, while Sutton provided 22.

Senior center Daquan Joyner paced the Cougars with 24 points, nine blocked shots, five rebounds and four assists. Tim Kornegay delivered a double-double -- 19 points, 14 rebounds. Tim Hobbs recorded 13 points, including 11 in the second half.

Goldsboro, the defending EPC regular-season champion, suffered its sixth defeat in its last nine outings. The Cougars are 6-4 on the road this season, including a 1-2 worksheet in conference play.

"We find excuses, blame the wrong thing at the wrong time and in our three conference losses, we haven't responded well to adversity," said Jordan. "Until we learn to respond to adversity, we're not going to win. For all the talent we have, we're just not getting the job done."

Moral victories in recent close losses have offered little solace for first-year Goldsboro girls' coach Brandy Smith. Yet another EPC foe slid from the Cougars' grasp as Greene Central pulled away for a 52-41 win.

Goldsboro (2-15 overall, 0-4 EPC) trimmed a 13-point deficit to 44-39 with just over four minutes remaining in regulation. Johneisha Maye buried a rare 3-pointer, Kiana Williams added a trey and Danielle Irby knocked down a backdoor layup off Maye's assist on an inbounds play.

But the momentum quickly faded.

The Cougars converted just one of their 12 final possessions of the game and suffered their 10th road loss of the season.

"At the end of the game, we had too many turnovers and too many dropped passes that was costly," said Smith. "We had a game plan to attack the basket, dish off and kick it out. We started jacking the ball up at the wrong time, instead of getting inside and drawing the fouls.

"We started panicking when we didn't have to."

Defensively, Goldsboro couldn't get the defensive stops it needed to contend for its first conference win. Senior Briana Stanton handled the workload for the Rams and collected 10 of her game-high 27 points down the stretch.

"We knew they were going to her," Smith said of Stanton. "She's a good athletic person. We had our two best defenders on her, who did the best they could."

Stanton finished with 10 rebounds, six steals, six blocked shots and three assists. A soft-spoken, all-conference selection as a junior, Stanton is drawing attention from Old Dominion, James Madison, Appalachian State and numerous Division II schools.

Maye, Irby and Tiffany Burden each delivered an eight-point outing for Goldsboro. Maye and Millicent Kornegay shared rebounding honors with six boards apiece, while Kiana Williams dished out four assists.

"It hurts worse when you lose so close, especially when you know you're in the game and you have an opportunity to pull it out," said Smith.

Boys game

Goldsboro 15 17 27 26 -- 85

Greene Central 15 17 22 34 -- 88

GOLDSBORO (11-7, 1-3)

Tim Kornegay 9 0 1-8 19, Burnie Best 3 0 0-0 6, Tavon Murchison 1 0 0-0 2, Eric McLean 2 1 2-3 9, Jameson Wellington 2 0 0-2 4, Kevonta McDuffie 3 0 0-0 6, Tim Hobbs 6 0 1-3 13, Treme Boone 1 0 0-0 2, Daquan Joyner 8 2 2-2 24, Antonio Green 0 0 0-0 0. TOTALS -- 35 3 6-16 85.

GREENE CENTRAL (12-5, 4-0)

Marcus Lee 2 0 0-0 4, Danny Moye 0 0 0-0 0, Marcus Thomas 0 0 0-0 0, Reggie Johnson 4 3 7-10 24, Curt Braswell 0 1 3-4 6, Chevalier Howell 13 0 0-1 26, Brandon Sutton 7 0 8-16 22, Albert Barron 3 0 0-0 6. TOTALS -- 29 4 18-31 88.

Girls game

Goldsboro 6 12 7 16 -- 41

Greene Central 17 9 10 16 -- 52

GOLDSBORO (2-15, 0-4)

Carmille Early 2 0 0-0 4, Kiana Williams 1 2 0-0 8, Tiffany Burden 3 0 2-2 8, Danielle Irby 3 0 2-2 8, Johneisha Maye 1 1 0-0 5, Millicent Kornegay 1 0 1-1 3, Victoria Williams 1 0 0-0 2, Zeara McDuffie 1 0 1-2 3. TOTALS -- 13 3 6-7 41.


Tempestt Pettaway 1 0 0-0 2, Shanice Pettaway 3 0 1-2 7, Cassandra Suggs 0 0 1-2 1, Briana Stanton 10 0 7-17 27, Natasha Williams 2 0 2-4 6, Jocelyn Connor 1 1 0-0 5, Shawan Daniels 1 0 2-6 4, Tia Jones 0 0 0-0 0, Keshonna Williams 0 0 0-0 0. TOTALS -- 18 1 13-31 52.