02/23/10 — Goldsboro drops KIPP Pride

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Goldsboro drops KIPP Pride

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on February 23, 2010 1:46 PM

Minus their point guard and with their season on the line, Goldsboro's girls grew up on Monday night.

The Cougars' held off a late charge from KIPP Pride and picked up a 58-48 win in the first round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-A girls' basketball playoffs.

Goldsboro entertains Union on Wednesday night.

Playing without starting point guard Zeara McDuffie, the Cougars relied on Jolon Williams and Talaya Lassiter to provide valuable minutes. Lassiter scored nine points and Williams provided reliable play at the point guard spot in McDuffie's absence.

"When I was sitting on the sidelines I said to my assistants, 'they're growing up,'" said Goldsboro head coach Brandy Smith. "It was a conversation we actually had in practice on Saturday how the freshmen can't play like freshmen and how the sophomores have to play like juniors.

"They stepped up big time."

The Cougars (21-5 overall) leaned heavily on the interior presence of Akeyanna Whitlor and Alexus Myles. Whitlor finished with a team-high 16 points and 14 rebounds. Myles chipped 14 points.

Kasheika Wallace had nine points and nine rebounds.

"Everybody was getting involved," said Smith. "We had some good rotations with the basketball, some good ball movement and some good looks on the inside. Nobody was really forcing the issue and we were able to get a good flow of things."

The Panthers (13-13) closed the game on an 11-1 run and trimmed a 57-37 margin to 58-48.

"That's one of the issues with having youth on the floor is learning how to finish a ballgame strong and closing out and getting stops on defense," said Smith.

Courtney Small scored a game-high 35 points for KIPP Pride.