Goldsboro beats Weldon in eastern regional semifinal
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 4, 2010 1:47 PM
GREENVILLE -- "Poised and focused" has become Goldsboro High's calling card during the 2010 postseason.
The Cougars just don't seem to get rattled these days.
State-ranked Weldon seized a two-possession advantage throughout the early stages of the second half, but could never pull away.
Goldsboro, once again, orchestrated another fourth-quarter comeback. The Cougars aggressively attacked the basket, buried key free throws and turned back the Chargers 59-55 in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-A eastern regional semifinals Wednesday evening.
Rasean Brewington led all scorers with 22 points and catapulted Goldsboro (22-7 overall) into the eastern championship for the first time since 2003, and seventh time overall in program history. The Cougars face the winner of today's Pender-Perquimans game at 11 a.m. Saturday inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum on the ECU campus.
James Williams complemented Brewington with a double-double -- 11 points and 17 rebounds. Devonte White added eight points for the Cougars, who extended their win streak to 11 games.
Weldon, ranked No. 5 in the latest NCpreps.com poll, constantly hawked Goldsboro with fullcourt pressure throughout the opening half. The scheme forced turnovers and kept Reynell's team from executing its normal penetrating-style offense.
The teams battled through six lead changes until the Chargers, the 2009 regional champions, grabbed a slim 28-25 halftime lead.
"Their press, we went over how to break it the whole week (in practice)," said Goldsboro senior guard Demetrio Irby. "The court (length) in the first half kind of got us off (mentally), but the second half we went straight through the press."
The Cougars countered the traps by spreading the defense and hitting outlet passes near the midcourt stripe. The strategy created a much-needed transition game and Goldsboro constantly drew fouls on drives to the basket.
Three of Weldon biggest players -- 6-foot-5 forward Willis McGee, 6-5 center Nehemiah Pulley and 6-2 center Kyman Northington -- all fouled out. The trio combined for 17 points and 28 rebounds. It was the final prep game for Pulley and Northington.
"We did a really good job of keeping bodies out of the paint and were able to tip balls to ourselves. That was important," said Goldsboro coach Patrick Reynell. "We knew they were big and physical, and we knew we couldn't let them bury us underneath that basket with rebounds and easy putbacks."
White gave the Cougars a slight advantage, 42-38, on a 3-pointer off Corteiz Sprangle's assist to open the fourth quarter. The Chargers tied the game at 45-45 on Cameron Staten's driving layup, but couldn't overcome its foul trouble.
Goldsboro drained 9 of 12 free throws during the next four-plus minutes. Matt Woodard's two charity shots provided the Cougars' biggest lead, 56-50, with 1:47 left in regulation.
Weldon pulled within 57-55 on Ramon Peterson's basket with 22.5 seconds to go. The teams traded possessions before the Chargers missed three shots within the closing seconds that could have forced overtime. Williams knocked down the game-clinching free throw with 1.9 seconds on the clock.
"We kind of get a feel for what they do in the first half and really attack them mentally in the second half, and play within ourselves," said Reynell. "We've had that second-half poise all season, especially this time of year when you don't have a scouting report and have to adjust on the fly.
"They did a wonderful job of that tonight."
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