Pressure defense hampers Warriors
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 25, 2009 1:46 PM
ROCKY MOUNT -- Brent Holland walked down the bench, tapped each starter on the head offered praise as the reserves walked onto the court Tuesday evening.
He sat down, let out a big sigh and watched the final two-plus minutes unfold in Eastern Wayne's season-ending, 66-33 loss to Rocky Mount in the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A girls' basketball playoffs.
The defeat didn't bother Holland.
"I can go home tonight, and put my head on the pillow and sleep better with this loss than I can the Friday loss to Southern Wayne," said Holland who has an all-time playoff record of 4-5. "The effort was there. They didn't quit and the better team won tonight. I really thought the girls played hard."
Senior Brittany Franklin poured in 12 points in her final game with the Warriors. Fellow senior Jazmine Middleton collected all 11 of her points, including nine from 3-point range, in the second half. Teammates Lindsey Frederick, who battled a stomach bug, and Tia Jones also wore the blue-and-gold for the last time.
Tia Hudgins led NEW 6 champion Rocky Mount with 17 points. Arkineisha Melton knocked down nine points for the Gryphons, who seized their 14th consecutive victory.
The first quarter set the tempo.
Rocky Mount employed a 1-2-1-1 halfcourt trap to expose Eastern Wayne's weakness at the guard position. The Warriors cracked the press on numerous occasions, but either threw the ball away in transition or missed close-range shots inside.
The Gryphons scored 20 of the game's first 21 points and held the Warriors without a field goal for nearly 13 minutes.
"It wasn't the first quarter you'd like to see, but it was only 11-1 with about three minutes to go," said Holland. "We had some open looks, but they got us in such a fast-paced (game) that it forced some quickness instead of us taking a deep breath and knocking those layups down."
Shontae Boseman converted her only field goal off Middleton's assist with 3:26 left before halftime. The Warriors converted two of their final five offensive possessions of the period and trailed 35-9 at intermission.
Boseman finished with 10 rebounds, four blocked shots and an assist.
"If you make a couple of those missed shots, it gives you some confidence," said Holland, whose team shot 3 of 23 from the floor in the opening half. "But we missed those, and they went back to the other end and scored."
Eastern Wayne logged 11 team assists on 12 field goals in the first-round postseason affair. Tiarra McIntyre and Middleton combined for seven assists. Frederick had two, while Keisha Stephens had one.
Rocky Mount, ranked No. 11 in the final NCpreps.com regular-season poll, recorded 19 team assists on 27 field goals. Ten players scored for the Gryphons.
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