02/04/07 — Eastern Wayne loses OT heartbreaker

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Eastern Wayne loses OT heartbreaker

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 4, 2007 2:07 AM

One facial expression, shared by every Eastern Wayne player, told the same story Friday evening. Heads hung in disappointment, the Warriors barely made eye contact with anyone as they shook hands with Beddingfield's players.

The 67-63 overtime loss seemed too much to bear.

Eastern Wayne had scratched and clawed its way back into playoff contention over the last 10 days. But the heart-breaking defeat dropped the Warriors (5-13 overall) to 3-5 against Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference opposition, and left their postseason aspirations in doubt.

"A pivotal game," said Warriors head coach Marvin Bowman. "That's why we've been playing really hard. That was our focus and their focus, too. It was really a pretty good ball game, for the most part.

"But we made too many turnovers closing out the ball game."

Beddingfield (7-14, 4-4 ECC) turned a 29-26 deficit into a 36-29 advantage midway through the third quarter. Mike Anderson buried a couple of 3-pointers and Brian McNair, who led all scorers with 24 points, added two baskets during that stretch.

The Warriors misfired on their first six possessions.

"We came out a little flat and they knocked down some shots early," said Bowman. "We just weren't moving. Our guys were back on their heels and I tried to get them back to where we were in the first half."

McNair's conventional three-point play gave the Bruins a 10-point lead, but they could never pull away from the Warriors. Eastern Wayne stayed in the ball game and mounted a harrying game-changing charge in the fourth quarter.

Trailing 55-49 with 1:39 left in regulation, the Warriors' Lamar Davis drained a 3-pointer. Darius Wilder got open for a back-door layup and D.J. Cowan converted a steal into an open-court layup to push Eastern Wayne in front 56-55.

The Bruins' Qashawn Smith tied the game with a free throw, but missed his second attempt. Jenieri Cyrus grabbed the rebound and Bowman burned a timeout with 34.4 seconds left on the clock.

Once play resumed, the Warriors exhausted nearly 20 seconds when Smith almost picked off a pass near midcourt. Davis found an open Cyrus on the baseline, who turned toward the basket and bowled over a Bruin defender on the baseline. The official called Cyrus for the charge and Beddingfield had possession with four seconds to go.

"The ball wasn't in the hands of the right person at that time," said Bowman. "But they gave it to Jenieri because they didn't have anyone else open to pass it to the at the time. He made a bad decision of putting it on the floor right away, instead of looking.

"I wasn't banking on that."

The Warriors shot 25 percent (2 of 8) from the floor in overtime and committed three turnovers, which led to Beddingfield points. McNair scored seven of the Bruins' 11 points in overtime. Anderson's two free throws with 4.7 seconds left sealed the road win and moved Beddingfield one step closer to the postseason.

Cowan led three Eastern Wayne players in double figures with 14 points. Davis chipped in 13, while Darren Bennett contributed 11.

The highly-anticipated girls' rematch quickly fizzled after the first quarter.

Eastern Wayne trailed 13-11 after eight minutes of action, but never challenged the reigning N.C. High School Athletic Association 3-A state champions from that point. The Warriors converted just five field goals during the second and third quarters combined, and committed 32 turnovers in a 57-36 loss to the once-beaten Bruins.

Beddingfield (20-1 overall) improved to 8-0 against league opposition and clinched its second consecutive ECC regular-season title outright. The Warriors (8-10 overall) slipped to 5-3 in ECC play and remained tied with Wilson Hunt for second place.

"They turned up their intensity and they're capable of keeping that level of play the whole game," said Eastern Wayne head coach Brent Holland, whose team dropped a one-point decision to the Bruins less than four weeks ago.

"They played, as (former Arkansas men's coach) Nolan Richardson used to say, '32 minutes of hell.' They kept the pressure on for 32 minutes. An outstanding job (by them.)"

Beddingfield, which has won 50 of its last 51 contests, created offense off its defense. LaTroya Pope picked the Warriors for four steals and converted every possession into scoring opportunities en route to 14 points. Holland lamented his team had a difficult task in stopping 6-foot-4 center Jean Best, who provided a double-double -- 21 points and 10 rebounds. Best collected several baskets off offensive rebounds and drained 7 of 11 free throws.

Down by 10, Eastern Wayne got a steal at midcourt and missed a wide-open layup. Beddingfield rebounded and went on a seven-point run to squelch any notion the Warriors had of a comeback attempt.

"That was a big turning point," said Holland. "(The layup) would have cut it to eight, and who knows? You can't spot Beddingfield (seven points) and you've got to capitalize on every opportunity. And we did not.

"(Our) execution was not good tonight and our guards could not handle their pressure."

Junior Brittani Billups, who averages a double-double, paced the Warriors with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Freshman guard Danielle Daniels added eight points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Yasmine Washington supplied six points, but did not score in the second half.

Eastern Wayne returns to action Monday at county rival Charles B. Aycock.

"Win or lose tonight, we were going to stay in second," said Holland. "We control our destiny."

Boys game

Beddingfield 16 10 21 9 11 -- 67

E. Wayne 13 16 9 18 7 -- 63

BEDDINGFIELD (7-14, 4-4)

Jermal Artis 2 1 0-0 7, Kenneth Spells 1 0 0-0 2, Mike Anderson 2 3 6-8 19, Sabbion Lucas 1 0 7-9 9, Brian McNair 6 1 9-15 24, Glen Ayers 0 0 1-2 1, Qashawn Smith 2 0 1-2 5. TOTALS -- 14 5 24-36 67.

EASTERN WAYNE (5-13, 3-5)

Lamar Davis 2 2 3-4 13, D.J. Cowan 5 1 1-2 14, Jenieri Cyrus 2 0 2-2 6, Darren Bennett 4 0 3-3 11, Darian Cahill 3 0 0-0 6, Darius Wilder 2 1 2-3 9, Will White 0 0 0-1 0, Jamere Thomas 1 0 0-0 2, Orlando Midgette 1 0 0-0 2. TOTALS -- 20 4 11-15 63.

Girls game

Beddingfield 13 16 14 15 -- 58

E. Wayne 11 8 9 9 -- 37

BEDDINGFIELD (20-1, 8-0)

Shaniqua Clay 3 0 1-2 7, Latoya Farmer 0 0 1-4 1, Monique Spry 2 0 0-0 4, Kelly Minshew 1 0 0-0 2, Casey Elliott 0 1 0-0 3, LaTroya Pope 3 0 7-8 13, Jessica Johnson 3 0 1-1 7, Jean Best 7 0 7-11 21. TOTALS -- 19 1 17-26 58.

EASTERN WAYNE (8-10, 5-3)

Alicia Stevens 0 0 0-0 0, Noelle Kelly 0 0 0-0 0, Jasmine Middleton 0 0 0-0 0, Lindsey Frederick 0 0 0-0 0, Yasmine Washington 3 0 0-0 6, Eboni Reid 0 0 0-0 0, Tiara McIntyre 1 1 0-2 5, Danielle Daniels 1 2 0-0 8, Brittani Billups 4 0 10-16 18. TOTALS -- 9 3 10-18 37.