02/18/09 — SC-N. Duplin boys

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SC-N. Duplin boys

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on February 18, 2009 1:46 PM

SEVEN SPRINGS -- Trailing by two points late against border rival North Duplin, first-year Spring Creek coach Taylor Jones decided not call timeout Tuesday evening.

Instead, he let the players adapt to the situation.

The Gators quickly understood the lesson.

Spring Creek reeled off an 18-0 run during the final three-plus minutes and eliminated North Duplin 62-46 in quarterfinal-round play of the Class 1-A Carolina Conference boys' basketball tournament. The third-seeded Gators (9-12 overall) travel to Ayden-Grifton on Thursday.

"We were up double digits and then North Duplin made a run to get back into it," said Jones. "Conventional wisdom is that a coach calls timeout in that situation. But at this point in the year my guys have to learn that I can't always make the adjustments for them."

The Rebels overcame a 13-point, first-half deficit with strong interior defense and excellent team rebounding. Forwards Blake King and Xavier Lee consistently scored on second-chance opportunities.

Devin Oliver tied the game with four minutes to play with a jumper from the left elbow. Lee gave the Rebels their only lead 46-44 at the 3:15 mark with a turnaround shot.

"Over the last two weeks we have been playing a lot better basketball," said North Duplin head coach Ricky Edwards. "I am really proud of my guys. They have come a long way this season."

Spring Creek came together down the stretch.

Kenneth Freeman sparked the Gators' final run with a conventional three-point play. Courtland Jones buried a jumper on the following possession and the Gators rolled from there.

Melvin DeVeaux led the Spring Creek offense with 15 points. Anthony Green added 12 points. Lucas Potter scored seven points and grabbed five rebounds.

Lee recorded a double-double -- 12 points, 14 rebounds -- for North Duplin. King also contributed a double-double -- 10 points, 10 boards. Marcus Kornegay added 11 points. The Rebels finish the season 0-19 overall.

"We know its going to be a full-tilt 32 minutes," said Jones of the A-G game. "I expect that we will be ready to play and hopefully we can go full speed the from the opening tip."

Tip-off is 7:30 p.m.