Ayden-Grifton easily handles Gators in Carolina 1-A tournament final
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 18, 2007 2:13 AM
MOUNT OLIVE -- Defense wins championships.
Just ask Ayden-Grifton.
The top-seeded Chargers handcuffed Spring Creek with a variety of defenses and cruised to a 72-51 victory Friday evening at Kornegay Arena. Ayden-Grifton successfully defended its Class 1-A Carolina Conference tournament title and avenged a regular-season loss to the Gators.
"The last time we played them, we beat them and made them mad," said Spring Creek head coach Sonny Kilpatrick. "They came back and whupped us ... a good 'ole fanny spanking. Everything we tried to do, they had a counter for it. They just stopped everything we threw at them."
Ayden-Grifton (18-6 overall) employed a trapping 2-3 zone in the opening quarter and Spring Creek couldn't execute its offense. The Gators committed five turnovers and missed their first four shots from the floor.
The offensive futility translated into a 14-0 deficit.
A disgusted Kilpatrick pulled his starters at that point.
"They weren't hustling ... weren't moving," said Kilpatrick. "Every time I tried to say something to them, they had some little comment to make. I was fed up with it. I took them off (the court) to talk with them a little bit, and they wanted to whine and cry.
"I just decided to let them cool off a little bit."
Backup guard Kevin Winn notched the Gators' first basket, a 3-pointer off Daniel Harris' steal and assist, five minutes into the game. Ayden-Grifton scored the final six points of the period and led 20-3.
Chargers head coach Bob Murphrey favored switching defenses to prevent the Gators from finding an offensive groove.
"Our guys made a commitment to defense and we're playing real good team defense (right now)," said Murphrey. "That triggered our offense. We forced some turnovers and it got us going (offensively).
"We played pretty good basketball on both ends."
Kilpatrick re-inserted four of five starters into the lineup for the second period. Daniel Correll hit back-to-back 3-pointers and Desmond Raiford collected an offensive putback to pull the Gators within 25-13.
Ayden-Grifton ended the quarter with a 12-4 run and led 37-17 at halftime.
Could Spring Creek pull off another second-half comeback within a 24-hour stretch?
"We talked about how they are a second-half team and the two times we played them, they got stronger against us and took control of the game physically," said Murphrey. "We talked about not letting them come on strong in the second half and our kids played them pretty even the third quarter.
"We didn't let them make up much ground."
The Chargers attacked the basket and converted 9 of 11 free throws during the third period. The Gators never threatened as Ayden-Grifton claimed its 22nd win against conference opposition in its last 24 outings.
Senior Tanner Carnes paced the Chargers with 27 points, including a 12 of 18 effort at the free throw line. Terrence Peterson added 16 points, while Lonnie Gay and Steffen McGhee chipped in seven points apiece.
Seniors Correll and Josh Wright led Spring Creek with 12 and 11 points, respectively. The Gators' reserves combined for 16 points in nearly 10 minutes of action.
"We're all just a little bit embarrassed," said Kilpatrick. "We just didn't bring our 'A' game. We have to bounce back because we've got a game Monday. We don't have any time to be down and out, or worried.
"We have to get ready to play at seven o'clock."
Spring Creek, a sectional finalist last season, entertains Pamlico County in the opening round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs. Ayden-Grifton plays host to Hobbton.
Ayden-Grifton upended top-seeded North Johnston 48-44 in the girls' championship tilt. The Chargers (12-16 overall) seized the No. 2 seed and a first-round home playoff game Tuesday.
Rosewood (13-9) tumbled to the No. 3 spot and will travel to Super Six regular-season and tournament champion Union on Tuesday. The Spartans (21-1) swept the regular-season series against the Eagles.
Union is ranked No. 4 in the latest NCPreps.com 1-A state poll.
Spring Creek 3 14 13 21 -- 51
Ayden-Grifton 20 17 15 20 -- 72
SPRING CREEK (10-13)
Daniel Harris 2 1 0-0 7, Kevin Winn 0 1 0-0 3, Maurice Langston 0 0 0-0 0, Terrance Johnson 1 0 0-0 2, Josh Wright 4 0 3-6 11, David Harris 1 0 4-4 6, Dekevius Williams 2 0 0-0 4, Orlando Grantham 0 0 0-0 0, Lucas Potter 0 0 0-0 0, Daniel Correll 1 3 1-2 12, Desmund Raiford 2 0 2-2 6. TOTALS -- 13 5 10-14 51.
Perseus Williams 0 0 1-2 1, Steffen McGhee 1 1 2-2 7, Matt Daugherty 1 0 0-0 2, Donte Atkinson 0 0 0-2 0, Donta Hardy 0 0 2-2 2, Terrence Peterson 8 0 0-0 16, Monte Atkinson 1 0 4-5 6, Zack Pipkin 2 0 0-0 4, Lonnie Gay 2 0 3-4 7, Tanner Carnes 6 1 12-18 27. TOTALS -- 21 2 24-35 72.
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