Cougars keep lead in EPC 2-A
By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on February 11, 2009 1:50 PM
The only statistic that truly matters is the 'W' column.
Just ask the Goldsboro Cougars.
Upset-minded Greene Central out-rebounded and out-worked the homestanding Cougars for three-plus quarters Tuesday night. But, in the end, Goldsboro earned a 68-64 victory and kept sole possession of the Class 2-A Eastern Plains Conference lead.
"Our effort just wasn't there and that's embarrassing," said Goldsboro head coach Chris Cherry said. "I have to give a lot of credit to Greene Central. Their kids played incredibly hard and I will take full responsibility for our guys not being ready to play."
Goldsboro jumped out to an early lead behind some hot shooting from Amanti Holloman and Rasean Brewington. The duo combined for 21 of the Cougars' 29 first-half points.
"Holloman is steadily improving for us," said Cherry. "He bailed us out a couple of times when we didn't get what we wanted offensively in the first half."
The Rams refused to be left in the dust.
Malcolm Dawson and Bobby Waters punished the Cougars in the paint and kept their team within striking distance. Goldsboro led 29-27 at halftime despite losing the rebounding battle, 21-11.
Both teams found their offense in the third quarter.
After Greene Central seized a brief 32-31 lead midway through the period, Tyrelle Jackson ignited a Cougar run. The lanky forward tallied 10 points in the period and Goldsboro widened its lead to as many as six points.
The Rams made a final run midway through the fourth quarter.
Waters sank back-to-back 3-pointers and pushed the Rams back in front 57-56 with three minutes to play. After a basket by Demetrio Irby, the Cougars raced back on defense and received a boost from Brewington who took his fourth charge of the night. He drew a fifth charging call two possessions later.
"I saw them coming full speed down the lane so I stepped in front," said Brewington. "It's not just something I do. It takes a team effort on defense."
Down the stretch, the Cougars won the game at the free throw line. Cortez Sprangle and Brewington iced the win in the final minute from the charity stripe.
The Cougars (16-6 overall, 7-1 EPC) were paced by Brewington's 17-point effort. Jackson added 12 points and 14 rebounds. Holloman also finished with 12 points.
Dawson led the Rams (2-20, 2-7 EPC) with a game-high 26 points. Waters added 17 points and grabbed nine boards. D.J. Freeman finished with 10 points and seven rebounds. Greene Central owned a 41-30 rebounding advantage.
The Cougars continue their three-game homestand Thursday against North Lenoir.
"At this point in the year you look at the standings and see where you are," said Cherry. "If that doesn't motivate you to give it your best, there is nothing a coach can do for you. We have to come with better intensity on Thursday."
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