02/04/07 — Eagles soar past Gators

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Eagles soar past Gators

By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on February 4, 2007 2:08 AM

Holt Rains wanted another chance.

Rains had missed two free throws with 1:38 to play which would have put Rosewood up by six over Spring Creek. Now he stood at the line with his team leading by only three with 20 seconds left.

Rains calmly sank both foul shots putting the Eagles up 69-64 -- making it a two possession game.

"I missed a couple earlier and they kind of got to me so I was just trying to redeem myself for missing those two," said Rains, who recorded a double-double of 13 points and a team-high 12 rebounds.

Spring Creek was unable to come back in the final seconds Friday night and was upset by the homestanding Eagles 71-66.

"It was definitely a big team win," said Rosewood coach Daniel Mitchell. "Everyone contributed. It was just a good win for us."

Spring Creek coach Sonny Kilpatrick said he was disappointed with his team's effort.

"We got outhustled," he said. "They whooped our butts up and down the floor. We went out there with a lackadaisical effort and it cost us."

Rosewood took an early lead and never lost it with a 14-3 run during the first and second quarters. Every time Spring Creek made a run, Rosewood answered with one of its own.

Spring Creek cut the Eagle lead to one on two different occasions in the third quarter, but each time Rosewood responded.

With the Gators trailing 34-33, Rosewood would go on a 13-3 run to go up by 11, its largest lead of the evening. Stephen McIntyre came up big during the run, scoring seven of his 18 points.

In the fourth quarter, Spring Creek chipped away with the help of its big man, Desmond Raiford.

Raiford came down with key offensive and defensive rebounds and scored second-chance points to get the Eagle lead down to single digits throughout the quarter.

"Desmond did a good job rebounding, but we didn't the ball into him, he didn't get his points," said Kilpatrick. "He's great rebounding, but he's also one of our leading scorers."

As the game became more competitive, the play on the court became even more aggressive and physical as emotions nearly got out of control on and off the court. A large contingent of Spring Creek fans made for a rowdy atmosphere and rough play on the floor had tempers flaring.

"It got a little heated on both sides, but I think our kids kept our cool and stayed focused on what we had to do to win the ballgame," said Mitchell.

The referees stepped in and began calling a much tighter game to try to keep emotions in check.

"We kept telling ourselves in the huddle to keep our head straight and not make any mistakes emotionally that could hurt us," said Rains.

Rosewood would score just one field goal over the game's final six minutes, but would make 16 of 24 foul shots during that time.

"That was key for us," said Mitchell. "It was very important for us to make those clutch free throws late in the game."

Spring Creek refused to go away as Kevin Winn hit a 3-pointer to make it a 65-62 game with 1:26 to play.

Then, following an offensive foul by Ahmad Jordan, Spring Creek's Josh Wright drove to the basket, but missed on his shot as Dennis Jones pulled down one of his seven rebounds.

Rosewood would go on to make four of its final six shots from the line to ice the victory.

Spring Creek (7-12, 5-3 in the Carolina 1-A Conference) was led by Raiford's double-double of 19 points and 15 rebounds. Josh Wright added 14 points and eight assists while Daniel Correll had 11 points.

The Eagles (5-15, 3-5) were led by Jones, who scored 19.

"It's a big win for us," said Mitchell. "It gets us back in the hunt for the middle of the conference. Hopefully, it can carry over and we can continue to play good basketball."

The Rosewood girls made it a sweep for the two varsity programs as they used a fierce full-court press to force 44 Spring Creek turnovers in a 53-30 win.

"Day one we have worked on that press and it's been a struggle, but our ladies are getting good at it," said Rosewood coach Debbie Bailey, whose team held the Gators to just seven second-half points. "We like it to be our weapon."

While the game finished in lopsided fashion, it wasn't that way in the third quarter as Spring Creek had taken a 28-27 lead on a rebound and layup from Tasha Whitfield.

"Basically we had the intensity," said Spring Creek coach Amanda Ramfjord. "We did the little things there for a while, but then we quit doing the little things. The intensity left us on the defensive end."

The Eagles and Courtney Hill would step up and become the more aggressive team.

During the first half, Rosewood had been frustrated by a 2-3 zone that forced Hill and her teammates to settle for outside shots. In the second half, the Eagles took the ball right at the defense.

A layup from Shanita Monroe ignited an 8-0 run by Rosewood to close the quarter. Then in the fourth, the run exploded to 26-2 with the help of Hill and plenty of Gator turnovers.

Hill scored eight of her points in the period and became more aggressive looking for her shot.

"Courtney just takes the team and goes with it," said Bailey. "She steps up as a leader when we need her to."

On defense, the full-court press of Rosewood would force Spring Creek into 20 turnovers during the quarter which ended its hopes for an upset.

Hill once again filled up the stat sheet for the Eagles (11-8, 6-2) with a game-high 19 points to go with eight rebounds and six steals. Haile Meadows added 12 points and Kasie Braswell had 10.

On defense, Rosewood came away with 27 steals -- eight by Monroe.

Spring Creek (2-17, 1-7) was led by Whitfield who tallied nine points.

Despite trailing in the second half, losing the game never crossed Bailey's mind.

"In games past, I would've really been worried about (trailing), but I had all the confidence in the world in those girls tonight," she said. "I never had a thought, even when we were trailing, that we weren't going to come out on top tonight."

Boys game

Spring Creek 10 14 15 27 -- 66

Rosewood 17 13 17 24 -- 71

SPRING CREEK (7-12, 5-3)

Desmond Raiford 7 0 5-6 19, Josh Wright 4 0 6-8 14, Daniel Correll 1 3 0-0 11, David Harris 2 1 3-6 10, Kevin Winn 1 1 0-0 5, Maurice Langston 1 0 1-2 3, Lucas Potter 1 0 0-0 2, Dekevius Williams 1 0 0-2 2. TOTALS -- 18 5 15-24 66.

ROSEWOOD (5-15, 3-5)

Dennis Jones 7 0 5-6 19, Stephen McIntyre 5 1 5-8 18, Holt Rains 4 0 5-8 13, Taylor Allen 1 1 3-4 8, Adrian Dahranj 1 0 3-4 5, Ahmad Jordan 0 0 3-4 3, Sean Cornman 1 0 1-2 3, Tyler Muntz 1 0 0-0 2. TOTALS -- 20 2 25-36 71.

Girls game

Spring Creek 13 12 5 2 -- 30

Rosewood 16 9 10 18 -- 53

SPRING CREEK (2-17, 1-7)

Tasha Whitfield 3 0 1-3 9, Maura Phipps 2 0 0-0 6, Melanique DeVeaux 2 0 1-2 5, Shaquita Brooks 2 0 0-0 4, Sarah Parks 1 0 0-0 2, Norma Valentin 1 0 0-0 2, Ericca Evans 1 0 0-0 2, Nichole Johnson 0 0 0-1 0. TOTALS -- 14 0 2-4 30.

ROSEWOOD (11-8, 6-2)

Courtney Hill 4 1 8-10 19, Haile Meadows 2 2 2-2 12, Kasie Braswell 3 0 4-4 10, Shanita Monroe 3 0 0-0 6, Miesha Chester 0 1 1-2 4, Ashley Williams 1 0 0-0 2. TOTALS -- 13 4 15-18 53.