12/05/08 — Cougars turn back Firebirds

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Cougars turn back Firebirds

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on December 5, 2008 1:46 PM

Offense will come and go.

The defense needs to remain constant.

Goldsboro High boys' basketball coach Chris Cherry stressed those two facts in the locker room before the Cougars faced Southern Nash on Thursday evening. And while the offense ebbed and flowed like the tide, the defense certainly remained constant in a 65-41 non-conference victory.

The Cougars (4-3 overall) claimed their fourth consecutive win, while the Firebirds exited 0-3.

Southern Nash, of the NEW 6 Athletic Conference, capitalized on six turnovers and seized a 10-4 lead midway through the opening quarter. Goldsboro stayed within striking distance and forged ahead 16-15 on Tyrelle Jackson's fast-break dunk off Rasean Brewington's assist.

Brewington's 3-pointer extended the advantage to 19-15, but both offenses went stagnant. For the next six-plus minutes, the teams combined for a meager seven points as Goldsboro entered intermission ahead 21-20.

The offensive futility didn't bother Cherry.

"We fought through adversity," said Cherry. "As bad as we shot the ball in the first half, we held them to 20 points. I thought that was a heckuva of an (defensive) effort and that's what I was most proud about tonight."

The defense continued to harass the Firebirds in the third quarter. Jackson and 6-foot-5 center James Williams either deflected or blocked shots to keep the visitors off the scoreboard.

"We were so dog-gone active defensively," said Cherry. "We got our hands on a lot of balls. Tyrelle and James caused them to alter shots and made them rush a little bit, and that got us out in transition."

Michael Langston sparked Goldsboro's offense in the third quarter. The 5-foot-5 shooting guard buried two 3-pointers and dished out an assist on Devonte White's 3-pointer during a 17-1 run.

Carlton Forte's buzzer-beating basket off Langston's assist capped the surge and gave the Cougars a comfortable 43-27 margin after third-period play.

"We changed our offense a little bit and put a shooter on the baseline, which I think helped us," said Cherry. "I think we were trying to make plays that really weren't there (in the first half) instead of taking what they gave us.

"I thought we settled down. Mike hit two big threes in that run."

Southern Nash climbed with 49-37 with 4-plus minutes left in regulation, but could get no closer. Goldsboro tallied 12 of the next 16 points during a 96-second stretch and put the game out of reach.

Demetrio Irby paced three Cougars in double figures with 16 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter. Brewington knocked down 14 points and Jackson provided 10. White scored nine points and Langston added eight.

Goldsboro is the guest of Charles B. Aycock today.