03/13/10 — Cougars fall in state title game

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Cougars fall in state title game

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 13, 2010 11:18 PM

CHAPEL HILL -- Goldsboro threw the first haymaker.

Senior guard Rasean Brewington scorched the nets for 16 points as Goldsboro built a 10-point lead over Monroe after eight minutes of action Saturday afternoon.

The Redhawks answered with a roundhouse that sent the Cougars reeling.

Monroe closed the first half with a back-breaking run and turned back Goldsboro 62-46 in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 2-A men's basketball championship contest at the Dean E. Smith Center.

Rasean Brewington, named the East's most outstanding player in the game, ignited the Cougars in the opening quarter. The senior forward pumped in 16 of his game-high 27 points during that stretch as Goldsboro built a 10-point lead.

"We came out in the first quarter and did really well," said Goldsboro coach Patrick Reynell. "We were executing offensively and had some intensity on defense."

The second quarter was the momentum breaker.

No. 2-ranked Monroe (32-1 overall) took just 90 seconds to erase the double-digit deficit. Duke football signee Issac Blakeney, who won the Wendy's Charlie Adams MVP award, got into the offensive flow and controlled the boards on both ends of the court.

Jamison Crowder's back-to-back steals and layups gave the Redhawks, winners of 22 consecutive games, their first lead at 19-18. James Williams put the Cougars back in front 20-19, but it would be the last time the eastern champions had the lead.

Blakeney's layup and Qwadarius Threatt's 3-pointer highlighted the game-turning 21-4 surge.

"None of these guys had been here before," said Monroe coach Johnny Sowell of the sluggish start. "I knew as long as we could overcome that first quarter and play that second quarter, we had a great opportunity. They had spurts and we had spurts, but once we settled down and started playing Monroe basketball, I felt good about it."

Goldsboro (23-8) managed just two field goals during a 10-minute span that carried over into the third quarter. Brewington's layup closed the gap to 38-28, but the Cougars would get no closer.

The Redhawks collected seven of the quarter's final 11 points.

"One part of coaching is not only the X's and O's, but being conditioned ... being physically strong and mentally strong, and those guys are well-conditioned," said Reynell. "Number 12 (Blakeney) and 24 (Crowder) are special players. They make that team go and those guys played smart enough to stay out of foul trouble to give their team the best opportunity."

Blakeney logged a double-double -- 24 points and 15 rebounds. Crowder finished with 20 points and was named the West's most outstanding player. Threatt added 10 points. Blakeney, Crowder and Threatt played all 32 minutes.

Monroe denied Goldsboro the chance to claim just its second basketball state title and 10th championship (all sports combined) in the school's athletic history. The Cougars were the first Carolina 1-A Conference team to play for a state title since North Johnston in 2005, and just the fifth overall in league history since 1974.

Brewington was the lone player to reach double figures for the Cougars, who had their 11-game win streak snapped. James Williams scored seven points, while Demetrio Irby and Devonte White scored four points apiece.

"I just thank God for the student -that I've worked with this year," said Reynell. "Through those four years, different coaches and many systems, they've continued to be successful. The one constant through those four years has been these student-athletes, their talent, their hard work, their ethic and their pride in their school.

"I'm appreciative to have them completely trust me right off the bat, and give me their hearts and their minds."