Goldsboro rallies, takes sole possession of EPC boys' race
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on February 8, 2009 2:00 AM
LaGRANGE -- Weather the storm.
The mantra that has encapsulated Goldsboro's season rang true again on Friday evening as it rallied from six points down with less than six minutes to play for a 72-67 win at North Lenoir.
The victory was the Cougars' 15th in their last 18 games and gave them sole possession of first place in the Class 2-A Eastern Plains Conference.
Goldsboro was also forced to play without guard Devonte White, who underwent jaw surgery after taking an elbow to the face during the Cougars' win over North Pitt on Tuesday.
The Hawks closed the third quarter with 12 unanswered points and Juel Bizzell's 3-pointer with less than 51/2 minutes to play in the game extended North Lenoir's lead to 58-52. Bizzell had 17 points and Josh Grady chipped in 10.
Donald Lewis, who along with Cortez Sprangle saw extended minutes in White's absence, knocked down a pair of 3-pointers as part of a 10-0 run that gave Goldsboro a 62-58 lead. Lewis finished with 15 points.
"Donald is the type of kid that if he misses a few shots early he has a tendency to hang his head," said Cougars head coach Chris Cherry. "The last three games he's really shot the ball well and he hit some big shots tonight."
Trey Harris sank a pair of free throws and threw down a dunk in transition off a Goldsboro turnover to tie the game at 62-62 with 100 seconds remaining.
Rasean Brewington's layup gave the Cougars (15-6, 6-1 EPC) the lead for good and Goldsboro sank six of eight free throws in the final 36 seconds to seal the win. Brewington scored 19 points, including 16 in the first half, and pulled down five rebounds. He also drew a pair of key charges defensively.
"Rasean really gave us a complete effort. He's a great shooter and he's working hard on becoming a more complete basketball player," said Cherry. "We showed a tremendous amount of poise and composure."
Chris McPhail knocked down 3-pointers on three straight North Lenoir possessions late in the third quarter as the Hawks turned an eight-point deficit into a four-point lead heading into the fourth. McPhail ended the night with a game-high 22 points, including six 3-pointers.
"We lost McPhail off some screens a couple of times," said Cherry. "I thought he hit one with Tyrelle Jackson in his face that was well contested and we did a better job defending him at the end of the game."
The Cougars improved to 10-3 on the road and have three regular-season games remaining in a year that has been filled with a healthy dose of adversity.
White is expected to miss several weeks and he joins leading scorer Keovanta McDuffie on the list of injured Goldsboro players. After beginning the season 0-3 and losing McDuffie, the Cougars have been bonded together by adversity and reaping the fruits of their unity on the court.
"We talked about it before this game that we needed to step up as a team," said forward Tyrelle Jackson. "We lost Kevo and he's one of our top scorers and we just knew we had to step up. I'm really proud of Resean Brewington. He stepped up and hit some big shots tonight."
Jackson had 18 points to go along with 12 rebounds. Sprangle contributed nine points and five rebounds. Demetrio Irby pitched in seven points and five rebounds.
Goldsboro entertains Greene Central on Tuesday.
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