Goldsboro girls weather GC's fourth-quarter run
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on January 18, 2009 2:00 AM
SNOW HILL -- Riddled with injuries and its confidence shaken, the Goldsboro High varsity girls' basketball team might have found some self-assurance Friday evening.
The Cougars certainly needed a win.
Unsuccessful in five of its last six road outings, Goldsboro weathered early fourth-quarter troubles and turned back Greene Central 61-56 in Class 2-A Eastern Plains Conference action. The Cougars, directed by third-year head coach Brandy Smith, improved to 9-7 overall and evened their EPC slate at 1-1 this season.
"We needed this," said a relieved Smith.
Goldsboro point guard Ki'Ana Williams posted a double-double -- game-high 28 points and 10 assists. Millicent Kornegay, who spent much of the evening on the bench in foul trouble, and shooting guard Victoria Williams supplied 10 points apiece.
Ki'Ana, however, proved the difference.
The senior torched the Rams' defense for 11 third-quarter points and drew considerable attention in the fourth quarter. Williams recognized the change and fed passes to either Kornegay, Akeyanna Whitlor or Tiffany Pearsall in the paint. The Cougars' big girls combined for 10 points and 13 rebounds.
"We had a hard time trying to stop Williams ... was lighting them up there for awhile," said Greene Central head coach Tonya Winfield. "She's a good ball player. When we tried to double (team), she recognized the post opened up and she proved she's a smart ball player.
"We seemed to be one step behind a little bit."
Shonice Pettaway's 3-pointer, Brittany Jones' jumper and Dominique Graham's driving layup comprised the Rams' 7-0 run to start the fourth quarter. Goldsboro lost its five-point advantage and trailed 48-44.
Whitlor's free throw and Pearsall's layup off Williams' steal and assist fueled a 7-0 Cougar spurt. Goldsboro maintained a two-possession advantage as precious time ticked away.
Winfield said her team's inability to box out and surrender second-chance scoring opportunities hindered the Rams down the stretch.
"We had some of our big girls to get in foul trouble ... Millicent was sitting down and Tiffany were having to interchange because of the foul trouble," said Smith. "But we had to have Millicent back out there to start the fourth quarter because rebounds got us back in it, which is something we've got have every night."
Goldsboro led 14-12 after one quarter and extended its advantage to 28-21 with three minutes left before halftime. Greene Central reeled off eight consecutive points. Jones capped the rally with a steal and layup, which gave the Rams a 29-28 edge at the break.
Victoria Williams' 3-pointer broke a seven-minute field goal drought for the Cougars early in the third quarter. Ki'Ana buried five consecutive shots as Goldsboro rallied for the tie and a three-point lead after three quarters.
"I thought both teams played really hard," said Winfield. "I think my girls left everything on the court tonight and that's all I can ask from them. For both teams, I thought it was a fun game for the kids to be in.
"We got a banged up a little bit, but that's how you like to play."
Tia Jones and Brittany Jones knocked down 12 points apiece for the Rams. Teammates Jocelyn Connor and Pettaway each scored 11 points.
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