Saints overcome late deficit to earn road win
By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on February 1, 2009 2:00 AM
For the seocnd time this season Eastern Wayne gave Eastern Carolina 3-A conference rival Southern Wayne all they could handle on the hardwood.
For the second time, the Warriors came up short.
Southern Wayne came from 15 points down in the second half and bested Eastern Wayne 55-52 on Friday night in New Hope.
"I don't even know where to begin," Saints head coach Russell Stephens said. "That was a great game, and a great way for us to end a big week in conference play."
At the intermission the Warriors held a firm 31-21 advantage.
Eastern Wayne built on its early success in a physical third quarter and eventually pulled ahead 42-28 with just three minutes to play in the period.
Southern Wayne began to claw its way back moments later when Desmond Raiford skyed for a rebound and followed through with a putback.
In the fourth quarter the Saints brought their comeback dreams to life with some stiff defense and timely outside shooting.
"We put in an all-defense team and tried to speed their tempo up," Stephens said. "They missed a couple of shots and we got some transition opportunities."
Eastern Wayne held a 50-48 advantage with two minutes and 36 seconds to play when reserve guard Ramsey Turner completed the comeback with an NBA-range 3-pointer from the left wing.
The basket put the Saints ahead for the first time.
"Ramsey was setting up for that shot the whole play," said Stephens. "We worked the ball around the key and he stepped up and hit it."
The Warriors stormed back one minute later when Jeneri Cyrus broke loose in transition and stole the lead back for the home team.
Raiford gave the Saints the lead for good on the ensuing possession when Gary Woodard drove the lane and dished the ball down low. Raiford collected the pass and scored, putting the Siants ahead 53-52 with one minute on the clock.
James Jones grabbed a steal at midcourt and sank a layup seconds later.
Trailing by three, the Warriors earned a final chance. Cyrus collected a pass on the wing, squared his shulders and fired with five seconds remaining.
The last gasp clanged off the rim.
"I am not going to say that they wanted it more than we did, because both teams wanted it," Eastern Wayne head coach Marvin Bowman said. "To their credit they stole the momentum and made the plays down the stretch."
The Warriors (4-13, 2-4 ECC) were led by Marvin Bowman II's 16 point effort. Will White added 12 points and Cyrus came away with six markers and five rebounds.
"We played three conference games this week and we won two... I am pretty pleased by that," Bowman said. "We knew it would be tough for them to beat us in our gym, and I thought our guys played well."
Southern Wayne (15-5, 5-1 ECC) was paced Raiford's 18-point effort. The workhorse forward also grabbed 12 rebounds. Brnadon Anderson finished with eight points and eight boards.
The Saints will host Wilson Beddingfield on Tuesday in a crucial conference showdown. Eastern Wayne will play host to Wilson Hunt.
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