Goldsboro eliminates North Pitt
Published in Sports on February 21, 2008 1:48 PM
BETHEL -- Up until the fourth quarter, Goldsboro coach Tod Morgan had nothing to complain about.
His Cougars were rolling, taking as much as a 20-point lead over North Pitt in the semifinals of the Class 2-A Eastern Plains Conference tournament. They were rebounding well, shooting from inside and out with accuracy and stymieing the Panthers' offense.
But all of the sudden, Goldsboro couldn't make a free throw. The Cougars hit just 9-of-20 from the line in the fourth quarter -- after making their first 11 through three quarters -- but still hung on and pulled away for an 87-70 victory.
"You know, we played very well," Morgan said. "We put the emphasis on rebounding tonight. North Pitt killed us the first two times we played them there. And we did a much better job there.
"If we make our free throws, we don't have to worry about anything there in the end."
North Pitt coach Mark Carson was surprised Goldsboro missed so many.
"At halftime, I told the kids if we're forced at the end to send them to the free throw line, we're going to lose by 40," he said. "But they started missing. But we turned it over too much, we missed too many layups and we just didn't play well enough to get back in the game."
Keovanta McDuffie led four Cougars in double figures with 24 points and 13 rebounds. Tavon Murchison had 17 points and seven boards. Demetrio Irby 16 points and five boards, while Aric Sinclair tallied 15 points.
Goldsboro (16-10 overall) advances to Friday night's championship game at Farmville Central. The Jaguars beat Greene Central, 72-64.
The Cougars came out firing early on. McDuffie and Leonard Compton drilled the first two of seven 3-pointers for the team as they jumped out to a 16-6 lead with 4 minutes, 32 seconds left in the first quarter.
North Pitt (12-12) responded by taking the ball to the hoop, cutting the lead to 16-11 on a hoop and free throw by Antonio Barnhill. Goldsboro pushed its advantage back to nine before the Panthers got hoops by Lamar Hines with 17 seconds left and Mike Mooring's steal and layup as the buzzer sounded to make it 25-21 at the horn.
A short jumper by Antwan Williams made it a two-point game to begin the second quarter and begin some back-and-forth action. At one point, Williams and Sinclair traded baskets three times down the court. With the score 36-33 Goldsboro, McDuffie canned a trey to end the Williams/Sinclair battle and start a 15-4 spurt for the Cougars that ended with the score 51-37 at the break.
"They shot the ball very well tonight," Carson said. "Especially from 3. They didn't do that in either of the other games."
The lead ballooned to 65-45 on a 3-pointer by Irby, and North Pitt would get no closer than 12 points on Will Morning's tip in with 29.2 seconds left.
"Goldsboro has a chance to go deep in the playoffs if they keep playing like this," Carson said. "Real deep."
Williams and Justin Tyson led the Panthers with 12 points each, while Mornings and Hines had 10 apiece.
By RANDY JONES
Courtesy The Daily Reflector
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