02/13/08 — North Duplin captures first conference victory

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North Duplin captures first conference victory

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 13, 2008 2:20 PM

Chris Graham stepped to the foul line and knocked down a pair of tie-breaking free-throws with just 2.4 seconds remaining in North Duplin's 46-44 victory over Rosewood on Tuesday evening.

The final shots seemed a fitting end to a huge offensive night from the Rebel standout.

North Duplin gained possession of the ball out of bounds with 30.6 seconds remaining and calmly let half of the remaining time elapse before taking a second timeout.

Rebel point guard Doug Lloyd threw the ball inbounds to Graham on the left wing. Dribbling between defenders, Graham darted to the foul line and attempted to side-step an Eagle forward. Instead, he drew a foul and calmly sank both free throws to give North Duplin (3-12 overall) its first Class 1-A Carolina Conference victory of the season in nine tries.

"I was glad to get the contact," said Graham, who led all scorers with 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds. "With the shots, I just stayed calm and made them."

The Eagles had one last chance to tie, but Lloyd intercepted a long pass as time expired.

"I thought both teams played very hard, and we just hit some big shots at the end to win it," North Duplin coach Ricky Edwards said. "I thought we did a real good job of rebounding in the second half and limiting their put-backs."

Rosewood (7-13, 3-6) jumped out to an early lead behind the strong interior play of Holt Rains. The senior forward scored 11 of the Eagles' 24 points before the break, and finished with 14 overall.

Stephen McIntyre added 12.

In the girls' game, North Duplin scored 18 fourth-quarter points and grabbed a come-from-behind, 43-40 victory.

Both teams missed chances down the stretch to take control of the game at the foul line, but in the final minute North Duplin's duo of Heather Hudson and Rebecca Coats each hit a key free throw.

The Eagles (5-15, 1-8) failed to convert their final possession of the game.

Jodie Williamson dropped in 18 points for the Rebels, who climbed to 6-9 overall and 3-6 in the league.

"Jodie is a great team player, but there are times when we need her to take over, and she does," Rebels coach Danny Blackburn said.

Shantal Johnson led Rosewood with 10 points. Haile Meadows tallied eight.