02/17/10 — Gators pull off first-round upset

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Gators pull off first-round upset

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on February 17, 2010 1:46 PM

PRINCETON -- Play with nothing to lose.

Spring Creek exercised that philosophy for four quarters and picked up a 53-43 win over Rosewood in the first round of the Carolina 1-A Conference boys' basketball tournament on Tuesday night at Princeton High School.

The Gators appeared to have shaken off the sting of a loss at North Duplin on Monday night, and raced out to a 10-0 lead on the Eagles.

"It's been an extremely tough year for us," said Spring Creek head coach Taylor Jones. "The expectations for us were really high going into this year and we weren't quite able to live up to those. It's tournament time now and we've got nothing left to do but just lay it on the line.

"Tonight we just played like we've got nothing to lose."

Spring Creek led 16-4 after one quarter and fed off Rosewood turnovers and defensive rebounds which led to transition opportunities. The Gators outrebounded the Eagles 21-9 in the first half and led 25-17 at the break.

"We were excellent in transition," said Jones. "Transition doesn't start until you play defense and rebound. It wasn't just our initial defense, but it was our rebound out of our defense which lead to our transition."

Rosewood seemed mired in the disappointment of an overtime loss to Princeton on Monday night. The Eagles (9-15) struggled to execute their offense and were whistled for a pair of uncharacteristic technical fouls. Desean Jefferson, Will Caughron and Jonathan Franks each scored seven points.

"I'm embarrassed and disappointed with the effort that we put forth today," said Rosewood head coach Daniel Mitchell. "There isn't a whole lot to say. Effort-wise we just acted like we didn't want to be here and it showed on the court. I could tell before the game that we weren't ready to play.

"I'm not going to put on a uniform, so they're the ones that are going to have to decide that they want to play and they weren't ready to play when we stepped on the court."

Adam Haggerty scored 11 of his game-high 18 points for Spring Creek (8-13) in the fourth quarter. Haggerty also pulled down eight rebounds. Melvin DeVeaux added 11 points.

The Gators (8-13) face top-seeded Goldsboro tonight in the semifinals at North Duplin. Tip-off is 7:30 p.m.

"We know we can compete with anybody. We've talked about that all year," said Jones. "They know everybody in this conference from off the court. Winning is not just about competing, it's about executing. When you play hard and you don't play smart you're going to get burned."