Goldsboro stays alive
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 13, 2007 2:30 PM
TARBORO -- Randy Jordan straightened up the towels, glanced at the scoreboard and took a swig of water.
"Do it one more half, or else it's for nothing," said Jordan.
The sixth-year Goldsboro coach rapped the wooden scorer's table a couple of times for good luck and headed to the bench. He got his wish.
Senior guard Tim Kornegay drained three free throws in the final 6.6 seconds and the Cougars posted a mild, 74-71 upset of Tarboro in quarterfinal-round play of the Class 2-A Eastern Plains Conference tournament Monday evening. Goldsboro (14-11 overall) travels to top-seeded Greene Central on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, fourth-seeded Tarboro (7-15) became the EPC's bubble team. If the Cougars emerge the tournament champion, they will take the No. 2 seed for the playoffs and bump the Vikings from the postseason.
Jordan didn't linger too long in the noisy locker room after the game.
"I'm so proud of our kids," said Jordan. "We got great efforts from a lot of people tonight. Who do you start with?"
Jordan applauded Kornegay's free throw shooting, Brandon Sampson's quality play off the bench and Antonio Greene's tenacity on the glass. Sampson and Green combined for six rebounds, one assist and two blocked shots.
"I could go player by player," gushed Jordan.
But Jordan couldn't have been more proud of his team's ability to answer the bell when Tarboro erased Goldsboro's 10-point lead midway through the third quarter.
Every Viking possession flowed through senior guard Jontae Sherrod, one of three McDonald's All-American nominees playing in the contest, during that stretch. Jordan warned his team not to gamble in its matchup 2-3 zone and keep a hand in Sherrod's face.
Sherrod proved unstoppable and scored 21 consecutive points as the Vikings pulled within 48-47 with 4:15 left in the third period. Juwahn Anderson picked the Cougars for a steal on the next possession and passed ahead to Sherrod. The East Carolina signee, who led all scorers with 41 points, stepped back behind the 3-point line and buried his fourth trey of the quarter to put Tarboro ahead 50-48.
"We got out and gambled too much in that third quarter," said Jordan. "Sherrod is a great offensive player. You just have to hope to contain him and that the rest of them don't beat you."
Trailing 60-54 with eight minutes remaining in its season, Goldsboro rekindled a flame that had been nothing but a flicker during the last month in the fourth period. The Cougars hit the floor on every loose ball, got a hand on passes in the paint and crashed the boards.
Green's backdoor layup off Tavon Murchison's assist put Goldsboro back in front 64-63 at the five-minute mark. Kornegay, a McDonald's All-American nominee, converted a turnover into an open-court layup.
Tarboro tied the game at 69-69, but Kornegay tallied the Cougars' final five points to seal the deal. Kornegay led four players in double figures with 22 points. Tim Hobbs and Daquan Joyner, a McDonald's All-American nominee, supplied 12 points apiece. Green added 10.
"We played with intensity, we played with heart and we played to win rather than not to lose," said Jordan, whose team dished out 23 assists on 32 field goals.
Goldsboro seized its first-ever EPC tournament win in program history and avoided finishing the season with three consecutive losses.
"They worked hard Saturday in practice and they believed coming in that they could do this," said Jordan. "What they're talking about in the locker room right now is 'let's celebrate on the way home.'
"But the job's not done."
Goldsboro 24 17 13 20 -- 74
Tarboro 22 11 27 11 -- 71
Reco McCarter 0 0 0-0 0, Tim Kornegay 6 2 4-6 22, Tavon Murchison 2 0 0-0 4, Eric McLean 2 1 0-0 7, Kevonta McDuffie 0 0 0-0 0, Tim Hobbs 6 0 0-5 12, Treme Boone 2 0 0-0 4, Brandon Sampson 2 0 0-0 4, Brandon Sampson 0 0 3-4 3, Daquan Joyner 6 0 0-1 12, Antonio Green 5 0 0-0 10. TOTALS -- 29 3 7-16 74.
Chad Barnes 1 1 0-0 5, Markel Pettaway 1 0 0-0 2, Sadarrius Lewis 0 2 0-0 6, Jontae Sherrod 8 5 10-14 41, Donald Tabron 3 0 2-4 8, Javon Jenkins 1 0 1-2 3, Juwahn Anderson 0 2 0-0 6. TOTALS -- 14 10 13-20 71.
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