01/28/09 — Warriors finish: Cyrus knocks down game-winning free throws

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Warriors finish: Cyrus knocks down game-winning free throws

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on January 28, 2009 1:46 PM

Marvin Bowman has known all season his team is capable of putting forth the same type of effort during games that he sees everyday in practice.

Bowman had to wait until the fourth quarter against visiting rival Charles B. Aycock on Tuesday evening, but the performance the Eastern Wayne head coach witnessed was well worth the wait.

The Warriors rallied from 11 points down and Jeniri Cyrus hit the go-ahead free throws with 24 seconds remaining in a 53-51 victory. It was Eastern Wayne's first Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference win of the season. Cyrus scored a game-high 18 points including eight in the fourth quarter.

The Warriors (3-12 overall, 1-3 ECC) held the Golden Falcons to just six points in the fourth quarter, including four points in the final 51/2 minutes.

"I've always known these guys have the heart," said Bowman. "It's just a matter of putting it together and finding ways to win. I think that's where I've been trying to encourage them. We have to finish games and find ways to win.

"I think the kids are beginning to get that message. That's really big for us at this point."

After Cyrus knocked down two free throws to give Eastern Wayne a 52-51 advantage, the Golden Falcons called timeout with 16 seconds remaining. Molonza Hayes' potential go-ahead jumper was off the mark. The Warriors' Will White grabbed the rebound and was immediately fouled.

White sank one of two free throws. Aycock rushed the ball up the floor, but Hayes' jumper and Jonathan Williams put-back wouldn't fall in the closing moments.

"There's not a whole lot to say other than we just didn't make a play," said Golden Falcons head coach David West. "We may have gotten a little comfortable I guess. We got comfortable, they stepped it up and we watched them."

After starting the season 10-2, Aycock suffered its fourth straight defeat and has faltered in five of its last six outings overall. The Golden Falcons (11-7, 0-4) head to Kinston, which suffered its first league loss Tuesday to Beddingfield.

"This may be the worst loss this season as far as having to move past it," said West. "At least we have (tonight) to come right back."

Aycock led 45-34 after three quarters.

Eastern Wayne went on a 14-3 run to tie the game at 48-48 on Cyrus' jumper with just over four minutes to play in the final period. The Golden Falcons took a brief lead on Isaac Ryals free throw before Cyrus drained another jumper with a little over 21/2 minutes left and the Warriors led 50-49.

Khendra Reid's jumper briefly gave Aycock a 51-50 advantage before Cyrus knocked down the game-winning free throws.

"This was the first game we had played at home in a while," said Bowman. "I told our kids 'it feels good to be home. So, let's get out there and play tough and let's get this one.'"

Tyheim Pitt led the Golden Falcons with 10 points and Brandon Winford added eight.

Eastern Wayne visits Wilson Hunt tonight.