By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 16, 2010 1:47 PM
Goldsboro nearly lulled itself to sleep in its own spread offense. But the Cougars woke up at the right time.
Corteiz Sprangle's driving layup with 7 seconds left in regulation lifted Goldsboro to a come-from-behind, 69-68 victory over Ayden-Grifton inside Norvell T. Lee Gymnasium on Monday evening.
The Cougars (18-7 overall) achieved perfection in 10 Carolina 1-A Conference games this season and put the finishing touches on just the 12th regular-season title in the program's illustrious boys' basketball history.
The Cougars have 20 claimed championships, regular-season and tournament combined, with four head coaches -- Lee, Randy Jordan, Chris Cherry and now, Patrick Reynell.
Goldsboro trailed after the opening quarter, but entered halftime with a 10-point lead. Sprangle's free throw extended the Cougars' advantage to 56-41 with 1:48 left in the third.
Ayden-Grifton pulled within 56-46 after three periods, and seized momentum in the final eight minutes of action. The Cougars employed their spread scheme and the offense fizzled on nine consecutive possessions, which resulted in five missed shots and four turnovers.
"Some of that was sloppy play and some of that was Ayden-Grifton's intensity because they really pushed up on us," said Reynell. "We haven't really seen man-to-man, other than a four-minute stretch late in the game, like that in awhile.
" I think a lot (of the mistakes) were because of their pressure."
The miscues allowed the Chargers to flourish in their transition game. Tevin Peterson's traditional three-point play capped a 19-0 run and put the visitors ahead 60-57 with 4 minutes left in regulation.
The dominating surge turned a vocal senior night crowd silent.
"We went to the spread way too early and our spread is not our delay game," said Reynell. "Those guys equate it to the 'dribble drive' and I've never called it that. I think they interpret the spread as a delay. They were forcing passes.
"Ayden-Grifton played extremely well during that stretch ... during the whole game, I think."
Goldsboro stayed within striking distance and grabbed a 67-66 lead on Rasean Brewington's back-door layup off Sprangle's assist. Ayden-Grifton answered with two Peterson free throws with 30.4 seconds left on the clock.
After a timeout, the Cougars pushed the ball upcourt and set up their offense. They worked the ball around the perimeter and Sprangle found a seam in the Chargers' defense.
The savvy guard drove to the basket, and his finger-tip layup barely disturbed the net as it fell through for the 69-68 lead. Ayden-Grifton quickly put the ball in play, missed the game-tying shot with 2.2 seconds to go and couldn't get the rebound as time expired.
"The beauty about this is we're battle-tested," said Reynell. "We've had a lot of these games, but granted we shouldn't be in these positions we put ourselves in a lot of times. One thing you can't factor in is luck and we've had some bad bounces, bad rolls, easy shots that (didn't fall)."
Brewington led three Cougars in double figures with 17 points. James Williams added 16, while Michael Langston provided 10.
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