03/02/10 — Goldsboro ready for regional

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Goldsboro ready for regional

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 2, 2010 1:46 PM

GREENVILLE -- The uncertainty surrounding the Goldsboro High varsity boys' basketball program during the offseason prompted players to think about either quitting or transferring to other schools.

As the months passed and no successor for Chris Cherry had been named by the administration, the concern grew. The players admittedly felt betrayed and realized they had to rely on each other.

Patrick Reynell is glad they stuck around.

A rookie coach with a passion for basketball and desire to succeed, Reynell implemented his system. More importantly, he got his assistant coaches and players to believe in him.

The honeymoon period hasn't ended.

"They've been great," said Reynell. "I'm not saying anything against the coaches who were there before, but they've only had each other to rely on during the offseason. From the first workouts in October, they've been so attentive and so good with respect to me and receiving my style.

"They figured, especially the seniors, that we're going to have to go with what he has and make sure we do it as a team."

The Cougars did.

Goldsboro (21-7 overall) returns to action today against state-ranked Weldon in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-A eastern regional semifinals. Tip-off is 7 p.m. inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum on the ECU campus.

Pender, the 2009 regional runner-up, faces Perquimans in the other semifinal. The winners meet Saturday at 11 a.m. for a trip to the state championship game March 13 at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill.

"We told the kids to keep our goals general, but we definitely wanted to be playing in March," said Reynell. "For me, it's a bit of a dream. With the talent we have, I knew there could be a possibility (of the regional).

"But this time of year, it's about things coming together, the kids trusting you and the coaching staff trusting what we put in. (It's) a lot of luck. I never expected it this quickly."

The Cougars are making their first regional appearance since 2003 and seventh overall, according to NCHSAA records. Reynell seeks to become the fourth Goldsboro coach to claim a regional title behind the late Norvell T. Lee (1984), Charlie Stevens (1998) and Randy Jordan (2003).

Weldon, the reigning regional champ, seeks its third East crown in program history. The Chargers (25-1) lost to Bishop McGuinness in the state final a year ago.

"It's an excellent regional," said Reynell. "I think we all mimic each other. We can come at you with size or come at you with speed. We can play fast, we can slow it down. It's going to come down to who is more disciplined ... who can take the punches and jabs early on."

Goldsboro trailed in each sectional playoff game, but turned up the intensity in the second half.

"They're very poised in the first half and get a feel for the game," said Reynell. "They really like to sit back and see what the other team is doing. They come out in the second half with a complete understanding of what the team is going to do offensively and defensively, and how to counter it.

"They're very good students of the game."

Senior Rasean Brewington leads the Cougars in scoring at 18.4 points an outing. Demetrio Irby scores 11.1 and James Williams contributes 10 a game. Williams and reserve Jarran Reed have boosted their efforts during the postseason and emerged the defensive leaders.

"James and Jarran are really taking ownership of the rebounds, staying out of foul trouble and guarding that back line of our defense," said Reynell, whose team has won 10 straight games.

"They have to play within themselves and be the anchor of that defense, just holding us down."