01/28/07 — Prep hoops: Shorthanded Cougars stun Lady Vikings

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Prep hoops: Shorthanded Cougars stun Lady Vikings

By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on January 28, 2007 2:08 AM

The Goldsboro Lady Cougars have known from day one that they'd be shorthanded this year. On Friday night, that depth took another hit a forward Millicent Kornegay missed the game due to a death in the family -- forcing the Cougars to play with just seven players.

No problem.

Goldsboro put together one of its best team efforts of the season to avenge an earlier loss to Tarboro and upset the Vikings 61-46.

"We've known from the beginning that we were short number-wise," said Goldsboro first-year coach Brandy Smith. "So when we practice, we practice knowing that you may not get a sub, you may not come out. They expect to play that much."

Fatigue wasn't an issue as the Cougars played with an intensity all game long. The theme is becoming more common with the team as they picked up their second straight win.

"We've been trying to refocus on what our specific goals are for the year and we always know defense is always first for us -- and it showed tonight," Smith said. "I was happy with our intensity tonight. We played with a lot of heart and emotion as far as wanting to win."

That intensity and emotion was recognizable from the outset as the Cougars scored the game's first nine points while forcing three turnovers and five missed shots on the Vikings first eight possessions.

After leading 16-9 at the end of one quarter, Goldsboro continued its full-court press and man-to-man defense to go up 27-21 at the half.

In the third quarter, Goldsboro had trouble gathering defensive rebounds and allowed second-chance points by Tarboro. Four straight points from Zadesha Williams cut the Cougar lead to 29-25.

Goldsboro refocused and went on an 8-0 run to go up 37-27, courtesy of six points from Danielle Irby and two from Carmille Early.

Early -- who had a significant size advantage against the Tarboro players -- took advantage of that with rebounds, blocks and second-chance points.

"She knew she had the advantage inside," said Smith. "I told her to be confident and stay strong inside. She played strong, got the boards and converted."

Leading 44-35 after three quarters, Early and the Cougars put the game out of reach in the fourth.

A layup from Kianna Williams and a rebound putback from Early pushed the lead back to 11. Williams -- who scored nine fourth-quarter points -- then contributed a 3-pointer with 4:20 to play to give Goldsboro a 55-40 advantage.

With Williams running the show in the backcourt and Early dominating down low, the Cougars would go up 61-42 with 2:30 to go and finish off the Vikings.

Every Cougar (4-15, 2-4) scored at least three points with Williams leading the way with a game-high 20 points to along with five rebounds. Early added a double-double with 14 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks while Irby finished with 11 and four steals.

"I knew going into this game that this was our game, I knew it," said Smith. "We've been getting better day by day and I'm really excited about what's ahead for this team. We're playing so much better now and it's the best time to do it, going into the second half of conference play."

The Goldsboro boys didn't bring the same intensity as the Lady Cougars had and it cost them as they fell behind to Tarboro early and never recovered, losing 71-61.

"It's totally not about talent," said Goldsboro coach Randy Jordan. "We don't have any intensity. Tarboro came out and just played so hard."

The Vikings blitzed the Cougars with an aggressive, trapping, man-to-man defense that forced 11 first-quarter turnovers.

Offensively, Tarboro got open shot after open shot as the Vikes went up 15-1 with 3:59 to play in the first quarter.

Jordan would then shake up the team, benching starters Eric McLean, Tim Kornegay and Daquan Joyner for the majority of the game.

"I played the kids that played hard, that wanted to play with intensity," said Jordan.

The reserves didn't fair any better as Goldsboro went into the locker room trailing 41-25 at halftime.

Tarboro continued with its strong play during the third quarter as the Vikings went ahead 50-30 following a jumper from Jontae Sherrod. Sherrod finished with a game-high 19 points.

In the fourth quarter, Goldsboro finally began to show its trademark aggressiveness.

Reco McCarter, a sophomore transfer who only recently joined the team, gave the Cougars a big lift offensively and on the glass.

Two free throws and a second-chance layup by McCarter, helped ignite a 16-4 Goldsboro run.

The lead was 14 with 3:54 to play when Joyner and Kornegay reentered for the first time since midway through the first quarter.

Kevonta McDuffie then used his quickness to come away with a steal and layup to make the score 65-54.

"Spider's (McDuffie) a talent," said Jordan of his young sophomore. "He plays hard. We're really excited about him."

A Joyner jam with 2:05 to go, cut the lead to 65-56, but Tarboro would go 6 for 6 from the foul line in the final minutes to seal the Cougars fate.

"Man for man, we're probably the most talented team in the conference, but right now we need to find a way to play with intensity," said Jordan.

Tim Hobbs led the Cougars (12-8, 2-4) with 13 points, seven rebounds and three blocks. McCarter stepped up off the bench with nine points and six rebounds.

"(Reco's) going to be a fine player once he gets in better shape and learns our system," said Jordan.

Goldsboro next takes the court on Jan. 30 when it plays at Farmville Central.

"I'll do everything in my power to make sure we're ready to go," said Jordan. "We've got some kids in this group that really work hard and it's got to become infectious. "

Girls game

Tarboro 9 12 14 11 -- 46

Goldsboro 16 11 17 17 -- 61

TARBORO (9-8, 3-3)

Tiesha Mercer 8 0 0-0 16, Zadesha Williams 3 0 2-4 8, Shanae Thorne 1 0 5-7 7, Raven White 3 0 0-0 6, Chandra Hussey 2 0 0-0 4, Stacie Tyson 0 1 0-0 3, Brittany Sellers 1 0 0-0 2. TOTALS -- 18 1 7-11 46.

GOLDSBORO (4-15, 2-4)

Kianna Williams 8 1 1-2 20, Carmille Early 7 0 0-0 14, Danielle Irby 5 0 1-2 11, Zeara McDuffie 2 0 2-4 6, Johneshia Maye 2 0 0-0 4, Victoria Williams 1 0 1-2 3, Tiffany Burden 1 0 1-2 3. TOTALS -- 26 1 6-12 61.

Boys game

Tarboro 27 14 15 15 -- 71

Goldsboro 15 10 13 23 -- 61

TARBORO (6-11, 3-3)

Jontae Sherrod 4 1 8-9 19, Donald Tabron 6 0 0-0 12, Tyre Dancy 5 0 1-3 11, Sadarius Lewis 1 2 2-2 10, Chad Barnes 4 0 1-2 9, Markel Pettaway 0 2 0-0 6, Anqueai Sessooms 0 0 2-2 2, Anquan Randolph 0 0 2-2 2. TOTALS -- 20 5 16-20 71.

GOLDSBORO (12-8, 2-4)

Tim Hobbs 6 0 1-2 13, Reco McCarter 3 0 3-4 9, Tremé Boone 3 0 3-8 9, Antonio Green 3 0 2-2 8, Jameson Wellington 4 0 0-0 8, Daquan Joyner 2 0 1-2 5, Kevonta McDuffie 1 0 3-4 5, Tim Kornegay 0 0 2-4 2, Tavon Murchison 1 0 0-0 2. TOTALS -- 23 0 15-26 61.