02/12/10 — Saints splits season series with C.B. Aycock

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Saints splits season series with C.B. Aycock

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on February 12, 2010 12:05 PM

PIKEVILLE -- The sequel just didn't deliver a good game.

It produced a classic.

Gary Woodard's running jumper in the lane with four seconds left helped Southern Wayne upend No. 5-ranked Charles B. Aycock, 56-54, on Thursday evening. The Saints earned a share of the Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference regular-season championship with the Golden Falcons.

Southern Wayne had possession with 24 seconds left and called timeout to set up its final play. Woodard held the ball and allowed the clock to run down before penetrating and hitting a fall-away runner in the lane.

Tyheim Pitt's long shot at the buzzer was off the mark.

"I was looking for our main scorer, Justin Artis," said Woodard. "When I saw they were playing close to him, I just let the clock wind down. I just took the game in my hands and stepped up to the plate. The atmosphere was unbelievable.

"I've never played in a game like that before in my life."

Aycock had the ball with the game tied at 54-54 and just under two minutes to play. The Golden Falcons elected to pass the ball around the perimeter and melt time off the clock.

Aycock's possession faltered and Southern Wayne grabbed the rebound to set up Woodard's heroics.

"In a situation like that where it's been so race horse and back and forth, when it's tied up and you have the ball, you really have the advantage," said Golden Falcons head coach David West. "You want to shorten the game up a little bit. We shortened it up and it just didn't turn out the way we wanted there at the end."

Brandon Winford sank one of two free throws with just over two minutes left to give Aycock a 54-51 advantage. Bernard Gross drained a game-tying, 3-pointer on the Saints' next trip down the floor.

"Bernard came into the game focused on defense," said Southern Wayne head coach Russell Stephens. "Finding him in a rhythm like that where he can shoot the ball and that was another big shot. You have to have them to win a game like this."

The Golden Falcons shot just 17 for 29 from the free throw line despite attempting 17 more free throws than the Saints.

With the conference title and first place in next week's ECC tournament on the line the two rivals battled all night. Play was physical under the basket and the game featured seven lead changes and six ties.

"It was just a heck of a ballgame to end the season for both teams," said Stephens. "It was kind of like a heavyweight fight. They hit us, we hit them. We wrote the word toughness on the board before the game started and basically that's what it came down to.

"You couldn't end the regular season on a better note."

Justin Artis paced Southern Wayne (16-8 overall, 8-2 ECC) with 15 points and Gross added 10. Khari Faison and Rashadd Hill both grabbed seven rebounds.

Pitt led Aycock (20-3, 8-2) with 18 points. Isaac Ryals and Winford each chipped in 14 points.