02/17/08 — Playoff-bound Rosewood tops Princeton

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Playoff-bound Rosewood tops Princeton

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on February 17, 2008 2:11 AM

PRINCETON -- Their postseason hopes hanging in the balance, Rosewood's boys punched their playoff ticket and gained a little respect on Friday evening.

The Eagles crashed Princeton's senior night party and left with a 58-53 victory in the Class 1-A Carolina Conference regular-season finale for both teams. Rosewood (8-13 overall, 4-6 CC) completed the season sweep of the Bulldogs and assured itself of a state-playoff berth.

Princeton (17-7) suffered its second consecutive league defeat and fell into a second-place tie with North Johnston at 6-4. The Dawgs drew the No. 2 seed and opening-round bye for the conference tournament.

"Our backs were kind of against the wall a little bit," Rosewood head coach Daniel Mitchell said. "We knew we needed to win if we wanted to lock up the fourth seed and the guys just came out and gave a great effort tonight. I think we were confident coming in."

Princeton trailed 41-38 entering the final quarter before senior Ryan Daughtry knocked down 3's on three consecutive possessions. The Bulldogs led 47-43 with more than six minutes remaining.

Taylor Allen put Rosewood ahead for good, 48-47, with two free throws around the five-minute mark.

The Dawgs had their chances down the stretch, but Daughtry and Josh Barefoot both missed 3's. Princeton failed to convert on a pair of one-and-one free throw opportunities with less than a minute to play.

"It's great that we're the two seed and we've won 17 games, but you don't want to back into the tournament like that," Princeton head coach Jeff Davis said. "We just did not play hard enough. Rosewood played a great game and the bottom line was they wanted it more than we did."

The Bulldogs used an early 7-2 run in the third quarter to take a 32-30 lead, but Holt Rains scored 15 of his team-high 21 points in the third. The Eagles led 41-38 heading into the final period.

Rains drained a long 3 just as the horn sounded to end the first half and Rosewood took its first lead of the game at 26-23.

"That gave us a big momentum boost," Mitchell said. "That was a big lift for us going in. Holt got in foul trouble early, but he really asserted himself in the second half."

Daughtry finished with a game-high 26 points including five 3's. Barefoot had 15 and Chris Hinton tacked on eight. Tyler Muntz contributed 16 for Rosewood, while teammate Sean Cornman scored 10.