Goldsboro clinch share EPC crown
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 13, 2009 1:46 PM
Senior point guard Ki'Ana Williams spearheaded a balanced offensive attack and Goldsboro earned a share of its second consecutive Class 2-A Eastern Plains Conference women's basketball title Thursday evening.
Williams flirted with a triple-double -- 18 points, seven assists, five rebounds -- in the Cougars' 61-36 romp over North Lenoir at Cougar Gymnasium. Goldsboro completed the regular-season sweep of the Hawks and claimed its seventh regular-season championship in program history since 1980.
"I'm happy with the (EPC title), but tomorrow a lot can happen and we can break that tie," said Goldsboro coach Brandy Smith, who is the fourth different coach to lead the Cougars to a conference crown.
Goldsboro (16-7, 8-1 EPC) entertains Farmville Central tonight. A victory assures the Cougars, winners of eight straight conference contests, of the No. 1 seed for next week's league tournament and the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs.
Akeyanna Whitlor added 17 points and eight rebounds, while Millicent Kornegay contributed 10 points and eight boards. The duo came alive offensively after Goldsboro converted a few outside shots and pulled North Lenoir out of a tight 2-3 zone defense.
"We knew that the advantage was on the inside, so that is where we wanted to start our offense ... from the inside-out," said Smith. "Our post players got in position for high-low looks to Akeyanna and Millicent, and they were finishing on the inside.
"They played big and strong tonight."
North Lenoir (14-8, 3-6) used a 9-2 run to pull within 13-11 midway through the second quarter. But Kornegay and Whitlor began to get open underneath the basket and each post player benefited from Williams' assists to extend the margin to 23-15 at halftime.
"Maybe we were too relaxed coming into the game and not getting early (defensive) stops that we're used to getting defensively (bothered us)," said Smith. "We were forcing things and allowing open shots on the defensive end. It was a slow start, but eventually we found it (rhythm) somewhere."
Williams torched the Hawks' defense for 14 points, including 12 from 3-point range, in the third quarter. The Cougars led 44-20 after 24 minutes of action.
North Lenoir (x-x, x-x) failed to trim the lead under 20 points the remainder of the game. Senior Jordan Hudson led the Hawks' attack with 14 points, while Kristen Davenport chipped in seven.
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