02/17/08 — Rebels top Gators for second straight win

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Rebels top Gators for second straight win

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on February 17, 2008 2:12 AM

CALYPSO -- Chris Graham and Doug Lloyd provided the ammunition as North Duplin ended regular-season play with a bang Friday evening.

Graham pummeled the Spring Creek defense for a season-high 34 points and Lloyd added 11 in an 82-67 victory. The Rebels (4-12 overall) won their second consecutive game and clinched the No. 5 seed for the Class 1-A Carolina Conference tournament.

"The guys are really playing well right now," Rebels head coach Ricky Edwards said following the game. "I thought we did a really good job on the boards, and we made some big shots."

North Duplin came out firing at will in the opening half. Graham ignited the offense with a 21-point outburst, including six 3's and a rare four-point play.

Trailing 40-23 with a minute left before halftime, the Gators turned two Rebel turnovers into six points.

North Duplin came out firing in the third quarter, but unlike the first half, the Gators answered. Spring Creek used a 12-2 run to pull within nine after 24 minutes of action.

The Rebels found their offensive rhythm midway through the fourth quarter, thanks again to a long ball from Graham, his eighth 3 of the night. Lloyd and his backcourt mates constantly found open spots in the Gators' trap defense and boosted the lead to 15.

"We did a better job handling their press, and that was really key for us late," Edwards said.

Forward Chris Warren was the beneficiary of the press-break offense. He converted three uncontested layups in the final period and finished with 17 points.

Spring Creek (5-14, 2-8) was led by Melvin DeVeaux, who netted 16 points. Courtland Jones added 12.

"This win was a big one obviously going into the postseason. We played hard and we have to keep playing hard," Edwards said.