By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 16, 2010 1:47 PM
Brandy Smith insisted she was calm.
The intensity on her face said otherwise.
Goldsboro waltzed into halftime with a commanding 16-point lead over Ayden-Grifton on Monday evening. When the Chargers shaved that deficit in half early in the third quarter, Smith shouted "timeout" and stared at her players as they walked to the bench.
"I gave them the nitty gritty," said Smith. "If you want to come in here and lose this game and prove to Ayden-Grifton that they should be number with you, you can do that. Or you can prove that you're the better team by getting stops on defense."
The Cougars did.
Akeyanna Whitlor, Brandy Johnson and Alexus Myles provided the offense during a decisive 14-0 run and Goldsboro rolled to a 55-25 victory inside Norvell T. Lee Gymnasium. The Cougars clinched the Carolina 1-A Conference regular-season championship outright and the No. 1 seed for the upcoming N.C. High School Athletic Association sectional playoffs.
According to school records, Goldsboro (19-4 overall, 10-0 CC) collected its eighth regular-season title since 1980. It's the third crown for Smith, who is in her fourth season at her alma mater.
"One goal down and a couple more to go," said Smith. "We came out here tonight and took care of business. It was a little ugly and some things happened along the way to scare me a little bit, but we picked it up defensively, got some key rebounds and were able to get some transition buckets."
Goldsboro led 13-7 after one quarter and 25-9 at the break.
Playoff-bound Ayden-Grifton (10-10, 7-3) converted its first four field goals of the third quarter. The Cougars committed four turnovers and advanced past the midcourt stripe just once during that stretch.
Derrica Jones' uncontested layup capped the run and Smith signaled for a full timeout. After making her point in the huddle, Goldsboro returned to the court and built an insurmountable 22-point lead after three quarters of action.
Whitlor, a senior, collected a double-double -- 18 points, 12 rebounds. Senior play-making guard Zeara McDuffie supplied 10 points and 10 assists, while Myles knocked down 10 points and grabbed six boards.
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