02/17/09 — Gators swamp Eagles in tourney

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Gators swamp Eagles in tourney

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 17, 2009 1:46 PM

PRINCETON -- Twice Rosewood trimmed the deficit to one point on Monday evening, but Spring Creek answered the challenge each time.

And Melanique DeVeaux had a hand in both responses.

The senior guard dished off underneath to Richelle Butler for one score and converted an open-court layup for another basket in the Gators' 57-45 victory over the Eagles. Spring Creek (5-12 overall) opposes regular-season champion North Johnston in the semifinals of the Class 1-A Carolina Conference women's basketball tournament Wednesday.

Tip-off is 6 p.m. at Ayden-Grifton.

"My girls came together and the veteran players knew what it was going to take (to win) at tournament time," said fifth-year Spring Creek coach Mandy Ramfjord. "We were missing Shaquita Brooks and I told Savannah Egleston before the game she had to step up big tonight for us."

Egleston supplied 13 points and seven rebounds off the bench. Butler knocked down a game-high 18 points and pulled down seven boards. DeVeaux contributed 14 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

Brooks is out for the season with a concussion.

Spring Creek raced to a nine-point lead after one quarter and extended its advantage to 14 points midway through the second period. Rosewood (5-17) countered with an 18-10 surge, including 3-pointers from Paige Babb and April Rains.

The Eagles pulled within 27-26 and misfired on two consecutive possessions to take the lead. The Gators built a seven-point cushion, but Babb and Shantal Johnson scored as the deficit dwindled to 33-32.

DeVeaux answered with a driving layup. Again, Spring Creek pushed in front by seven points only to see Rosewood climb within 42-39 on Rains' 3-pointer off Christina Bruton's assist.

"We kept our poise," said Ramfjord.

Rosewood stayed within striking distance on Babb's basket to open the fourth quarter. But the Eagles went cold offensively and missed their final 13 shots from the floor as the Gators pulled away.

"Scoring has been our pitfall this year ... shots wouldn't fall (tonight)," said second-year Rosewood head coach Karen Williams. "Overall, I am pleased with the effort the girls have shown this year. They improved the last half of conference play."

Babb and Johnson (eight rebounds) paced Rosewood's offense with 12 points apiece. Bruton contributed eight points, four rebounds, three assists and five steals. Johnson, Bruton, Babb and Kaitlyn Conger played their final games in a purple-and-gold uniform.

"My girls were hungry ... wanted it because Rosewood beat us by one point the last time," said Ramfjord, who is 3-5 all-time in Carolina Conference tournament play. "We played really well against North Duplin (last Friday) and the effort carried over (tonight).

"I was really proud of my girls."