Added depth helps Goldsboro boys
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on February 10, 2008 2:13 AM
What a difference depth can make.
Nearly a month after players leaving the program and academics found Goldsboro struggling to consistently dress 10 players, boy, have the Cougars fortunes have changed.
Leonard Compton transferred from Charles B. Aycock, players got to work in the classroom and head coach Tod Morgan now has 13 players at his disposal.
The affects were evident Friday night.
Five different Cougars scored in double figures and Goldsboro turned an eight-point halftime lead into an 83-69 rout of visiting Class 2-A Eastern Plains Conference foe North Lenoir. With a deeper bench, the Cougars pushed the pace offensively, while the Hawks struggled to stop Goldsboro's penetration all night.
After jumping out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter the Cougars stretched the margin to 30-16 with less than 5 1/2 minutes remaining before halftime. North Lenoir responded with a 9-2 run and trailed 43-35 at the break.
While constantly pushing the ball up the floor, Goldsboro (13-9 overall, 5-3 EPC) expanded its lead in the third quarter. Doshamora Simms' three-point play capped a 9-1 run to open the second half and extended the margin to 14.
Increased numbers turned what would have been critical foul trouble for Goldsboro just weeks ago into an opportunity for newer faces to become more comfortable playing together. Keovanta McDuffie picked up his second foul with less than four minutes gone in the first half, and big man Aric Sinclair was whistled for his second with over four minutes to play in the second quarter.
Newcomers Compton and Anthony Council as well as a handful of Goldsboro's role players supplied valuable minutes off the bench. It's a luxury Morgan knows could prove valuable as the regular season winds down.
"We're putting in some experienced guys, and guys who are just good athletes and they helped with that depth," Morgan said. "When you get in foul trouble and you can go with quality guys that makes a big difference."
The Hawks (11-11, 3-5 EPC) trimmed the lead to 58-50 with a 7-0 run but found themselves down 15 just 10 seconds into the fourth quarter. McDuffie scored a game-high 20 points. Simms and Demetrio Irby each scored 17 points. Tavon Murchison tacked on 16 and Sinclair added 10.
"I think we have the ability to have several guys score in double figures," Morgan said. "You don't want one guy to carry you every night because if he has a bad night then we're not as a good. I like the balance not only having perimeter players but post players involved in the scoring."
Chris McPhail paced the Hawks with 16 points.
With the victory Goldsboro continues to hang on to a share of second place in the EPC and will travel to Greene Central on Tuesday. The Cougars outlasted the Rams in overtime earlier this season.
"A hungry team like that at home ... they'll play real well," Morgan said of Greene Central. "That will be a big game for us because we need as many wins as we can get down the stretch."
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