02/22/08 — Spring Creek, Princeton girls shake up opponents

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Spring Creek, Princeton girls shake up opponents

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on February 22, 2008 2:30 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Believing you can win, making possessions count and winning the turnover battle are just a few key ingredients necessary for pulling an upset.

Princeton and Spring Creek's girls basketball teams both fell an ingredient or two short of their upset bids in the semifinals of the Class 1-A Carolina Conference tournament at Mount Olive College on Thursday.

Princeton trailed by as much as 12 points in the second half, but trimmed Ayden-Grifton's lead to seven with less than two minutes to play. The Chargers sank three free throws and added a layup in the final minute to preserve the 46-36 win.

The playoff-bound Bulldogs (11-15 overall) were unable to knock down some open jump shots in the fourth quarter and felt the effects of 28 turnovers.

"We started that game off pretty slow, but we had a lot of possessions where we had the ball down low and we just didn't get it in the hole," Princeton head coach David Anderson said. "That's been troubling us all year long. We just missed some shots and we failed to drop some 3's that we shot."

After Amber Wood's 3 cut the lead to 22-18 to start the second half, Ayden-Grifton (18-6) outscored the Bulldogs 12-4 over the remainder of the third quarter.

Not helping Princeton's cause was its inability get to the free throw line. The Bulldogs attempted just 10 free throws to 31 for the Chargers. Anderson was hit with a technical foul midway through the third quarter for voicing his displeasure over the disparity in the number of fouls being called.

"I received a technical because I held my arms in the air," Anderson said.

Angela Crandell's jumper gave Ayden-Grifton its biggest lead of the first half at 21-9 with less than five minutes left in the second quarter. Princeton responded with 6-1 run that pulled the Bulldogs to within 22-15 at the break.

"We built on that," Anderson said of cutting the deficit to under 10 at the half. "Our new little rally cry that we stole from Mount Olive's men because it's painted on the wall is, 'Someday is today.' I told our girls, 'Don't go out there and let them intimidate you.' I think we intimidated them some."

Brittany Baker led Princeton with 13 points and Wood had 10. Ayden-Grifton's Krystal Williams led all scorers with 15 points.

Spring Creek (5-16) led the conference's regular-season champion North Johnston for a half, but couldn't overcome a 7-0 Panthers run to end the third quarter and suffered a 44-33, season-ending loss.

Shaquita Brooks' layup with just over 5 1/2 minutes remaining in the ballgame cut North Johnston's lead to 35-31. Spring Creek was outscored 9-2 the rest of the way.

The Gators' inability to turn possessions into points, 22 total turnovers and North Johnston's ability to play with the lead and run precious time off the clock all hampered Spring Creek.

"We didn't have anything to lose," Gators head coach Amanda Ramfjord said. "We played the best we've played in probably the four years I've been here. I think, honestly, my girls ran out of steam and North Johnston hit some key shots."

Brooks' layup late in the third put Spring Creek on top 29-26, but the Panthers (18-5) closed the quarter with seven unanswered points.

A 28-10 rebounding advantage in the first half helped the Gators overcome 12 turnovers in the first two quarters and take a 19-17 lead into halftime.

Brooks finished with 12 points and Richelle Butler added six. Amanda Sharp scored 14 for the Panthers.