02/11/07 — Panther boys spoil Cougars' senior night

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Panther boys spoil Cougars' senior night

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 11, 2007 2:08 AM

Eric McLean grabbed a loose-ball rebound and passed ahead to a wide-open Daquan Joyner. The standing-room-only crowd sensed a rousing play and knew the possession could turn the momentum in Goldsboro's favor.

It never happened.

Joyner badly missed the one-handed dunk that clanged off the back iron and into the waiting hands of a North Pitt defender. As head coach Randy Jordan yelled "get back" to his players, the Panthers drained an uncontested 3-pointer at the other end of the floor.

"That was a back-breaker," said Jordan. "We needed to get the layup there and get back in transition. That was a big possession right there."

The five-point swing proved crucial and epitomized Goldsboro's season over the last six weeks. North Pitt used the long-range bomb as a springboard to an 89-80 victory in the Class 2-A Eastern Plains Conference finale for both teams Friday evening.

"That's what we spent a good chunk of our practice Thursday working on ... defensive transition and switching," said Jordan. "We felt that if we switch, we could defend them better and put us in a stronger position."

But the Cougars were a step slow defensively all night.

They constantly surrendered numerous transition baskets after scores of their own and they failed to step out to challenge the perimeter. The Panthers' Daniel Snow and Antwan Williams exploited those two problems throughout the 32-minute affair, and combined for 47 points.

Snow buried 21 of his team-high 25 points in the first 16 minutes, while Williams collected 16 of 22 points in the second half.

Williams got loose in the third period after Jameson Wellington's two steals and Joyner's offensive putback pulled Goldsboro within 55-54. Williams converted three consecutive possessions, including a 3-pointer, to push the Panthers' lead to 62-54.

"We have to defend," said Jordan.

Tim Kornegay canned a 3-pointer as the third period closed with North Pitt ahead 62-59. The Cougars stayed within striking distance and trailed 67-64 when Joyner misfired on the dunk. The Panthers' Cory Ward canned the 3-pointer on the other end for a 70-64 advantage.

"We could never get that one possession ... never get over the hump," said Jordan.

Eric McLean's 3-pointer pulled Goldsboro within 72-69 at the 5:09 mark in regulation. However, the Cougars didn't convert a field goal for four-plus minutes and missed five free throws with the clock stopped.

"That was crucial. Even if we go without a basket, if we hit our foul shots, we're okay," said a dejected Jordan. "But you can't do both -- not hit shots and miss free throws. We got good looks at the basket.

"I wish I could explain it."

North Pitt exploded with a 13-4 run to put the game out of reach.

Jordan didn't fault his players' effort and commented on Brandon Sampson's quality play off the bench. Sampson played his final home game alongside Kornegay (game-high 32 points), Joyner (25 points, 15 rebounds), McLean, Jameson Wellington, Treme Boone and Antonio Greene.

''I'm very proud of our seniors," said Jordan. "They all contributed and gave us something tonight."

Goldsboro (13-11 overall, 3-7 EPC) enters next week's conference tournament as the No. 5 seed and visits Tarboro on Monday. The Vikings swept the regular-season series.

Before tip-off against the Panthers, Goldsboro girls head coach Brandy Smith asked for three things from her team. The former Cougar exhorted her team to play with heart, hustle and give a 32-minute effort.

The Cougars answered Smith's request in dominating style. Victoria Williams supplied a game-high 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds in a reserve role, and Goldsboro thrashed North Pitt 63-27.

"It was senior night and everybody knew going in that they needed to play hard, especially for our seniors Tiffany (Burden) and Carmille (Early)," said Smith. "From the first play of the game, I saw everything that I asked for from them before the game."

"Everybody did a good job tonight."

The Cougars set the tempo on the tip-off. Ki'ana Williams grabbed the ball near midcourt and hit a wide-open Burden underneath the basket for the layup. Using its speed and defensive intensity, Goldsboro claimed a 20-6 advantage after the first eight minutes of play.

Five Cougars scratched in the scoring column during that stretch.

"The pressure we had on defense caused turnovers," said Smith. "They couldn't match up with our speed. We got up the floor in transition and finished (our shots)."

The Panthers, who finished winless in EPC play this season, managed just one field goal during a 21-minute span. Whitney Battle's rainbow 17-footer ended the drought with less than four minutes remaining in the third period. Goldsboro led by 30 at that point.

Burden collected 11 points, six rebounds and three assists. Early, who fouled out with three minutes to go, contributed six points, six rebounds and two assists -- all in the first half. Junior guard Danielle Irby provided 10 points and five rebounds.

Millicent Kornegay snagged a team-high 12 rebounds off the bench and Johneisha Maye contributed seven points and 10 rebounds. Overall, Goldsboro grabbing a whopping 56 rebounds and 15 assists on 24 field goals as a team.

The Cougars (5-18 overall, 3-7 EPC) clinched the No. 5 seed for next week's conference tournament. They'll travel to fourth-seeded Farmville Central, the reigning NCHSAA 2-A state champion, on Monday. Game time is 6 p.m.

Boys game

North Pitt 25 19 21 24 -- 89

Goldsboro 22 14 26 18 -- 80

NORTH PITT (15-8, 8-2)

Cory Ward 2 2 0-0 10, Anthony Williams 1 0 0-0 2, Lamar Hines 1 0 1-1 3, E.J. Williams 1 0 0-0 2, Antwan Williams 6 1 7-12 22, A.J. Dixon 5 0 3-5 13, Daniel Snow 6 4 1-3 25, Letterious Moore 5 0 0-0 10, Josh Everett 1 0 0-0 2. TOTALS -- 28 7 12-21 89.

GOLDSBORO (13-11, 3-7)

Reco McCarter 2 0 2-6 6, Tim Kornegay 9 3 5-6 32, Tavon Murchison 1 0 0-0 2, Eric McLean 0 1 0-0 3, Jameson Wellington 0 0 0-0 0, Kevonta McDuffie 0 0 1-2 1, Tim Hobbs 0 0 0-0 0, Tremé Boone 2 0 3-9 7, Brandon Sampson 1 0 0-0 2, Daquan Joyner 11 0 3-5 25, Antonio Green 1 0 0-0 2. TOTALS -- 27 4 14-28 80.

Girls game

North Pitt 6 2 8 11 -- 27

Goldsboro 20 10 19 14 -- 63

NORTH PITT (4-19, 0-10)

Yasmeen Hardy 2 0 0-2 4, Whitney Battle 2 0 0-0 4, Teera Clark 0 0 6-10 6, Jemia Wilson 2 0 2-2 4, Sharon Spruill 2 0 1-2 5, Amber Sharpe 0 0 2-2 2. TOTALS -- 8 0 11-18 27.

GOLDSBORO (5-18, 3-7)

Carmille Early 3 0 0-0 6, Ki'ana Williams 1 0 2-2 4, Tiffany Burden 3 0 5-7 11, Danielle Irby 2 1 3-4 10, Johneisha Maye 2 1 0-2 7, Millicent Kornegay 1 0 0-2 2, Victoria Williams 8 1 0-0 19, LaQuita Holmes 1 0 2-2 4, Tiffany Pearsall 0 0 0-0 0. TOTALS -- 21 3 12-19 63.