02/28/09 — Orange bumps Goldsboro girls from 2-A playoffs

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Orange bumps Goldsboro girls from 2-A playoffs

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on February 28, 2009 11:03 PM

Goldsboro entered the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 2-A sectional championship on the heels of a buzzer-beating victory over Cummings.

The Cougars could not keep the momentum.

Hillsborough Orange capitalized on early foul trouble and Goldsboro's lack of intensity on the boards, and claimed a 54-48 victory Friday evening. The Panthers will face Southwest Onslow in the eastern regional semifinals in Greenville.

"To lose the way that we did tonight is tough to take," said Cougars head coach Brandy Smith. "We got out-hustled and we got out-rebounded ... two things that we have preached all season long."

The teams battled through a stagnant first quarter.

The Panthers (18-5 overall) found their range in the second period.

Point guard Bria Berry-Holly showed off her outside shot and buried four jumpers from beyond the 3-point arc. Forward Bianca Richburg cleaned up the few shots that didn't find their mark and also endured the physical presence of Goldsboro's twin towers -- Millicent Kornegay and Akeyanna Whitlor.

Kornegay and Whitlor each drew their second foul against Richburg, and spent the remainder of the half beside Smith on the bench.

Orange led 26-15 at halftime.

"I don't know if we can play much better than we did in the second quarter," said Orange head coach Don Herbert. "We have been shooting all year, but now we are finally realizing what is a good shot and what isn't."

Goldsboro (20-9) stormed back in the second half.

Whitlor and Kornegay returned, and point guard Ki'Ana Williams created offense off the dribble. The Cougars quickly whittled away at the 11-point deficit.

Whitlor's layup off Williams' assist put Goldsboro ahead with 89 seconds left in the third period.

"We did a good job of coming out and picking it up offensively," said Smith. "But down the stretch we couldn't get the stops we needed in order to win."

The three-point shot became the Panthers' friend again over the final eight minutes. A pair of treys from Carissa Hill and one bye Berry-Holly provided the spark the visitors needed to regain control of the game.

The Panthers played the possession game and preserved the victory with solid free throw shooting in the final two minutes.

"You have to give Goldsboro a lot of credit. They fought back even after we played so well in the first half," said Herbert. "I was pretty happy with our team's ability to hold the ball and run the clock late in the game."

Berry-Holly led Orange with 23 points. Richburg contributed 17 points and eight rebounds, while Hill knocked down 10 points.

Whitlor and Williams recorded 15 points apiece for the Cougars, who made their first sectional final appearance since 2005. Kornegay logged 10 points and five rebounds.