12/05/10 — Cougars turn up defense to down Falcons

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Cougars turn up defense to down Falcons

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on December 5, 2010 1:51 AM

The casual observer who sees the final score between county boys' basketball rivals Goldsboro and Charles B. Aycock would think the Cougars had an easy time Friday.

That's not the case.

This one was close until the fourth quarter.

Goldsboro extended its pressure defense to full court and capitalized on unforced errors in a 78-60, non-conference win before a near-capacity crowd at Norvell T. Lee Gymnasium. The Cougars remained unbeaten in three outings this season, while the Golden Falcons exited winless in four contests.

Senior guard Devonte White poured in a game-high 26 points and dished out eight assists for Goldsboro. Robert Kornegay and Damarian Henderson provided 15 and 10 points, respectively.

Brandon Winford led Aycock with a double-double -- 18 points, 13 rebounds. Guard Randall Fulghum added 13 points, including nine behind the 3-point line. A.J. Mundle scored eight.

The Golden Falcons, directed by first-year head coach Steve Moats, seized a three-point lead after the opening quarter. The Cougars couldn't keep Winford and Shepherd Winfield off the offensive glass, which eventually led to 15 second-chance points for Aycock in the first half.

Kornegay's loose-ball rebound and subsequent turnaround jumper pushed Goldsboro ahead 34-33 at halftime. Aycock stayed within striking distance and twice took one-point leads on shots by Winford, but couldn't pull away.

"I think their guys were better prepared than ours and I kind of shoulder the blame, I really do, for the way we played for three quarters," said Cougars head coach Patrick Reynell. "They just executed. It seems his guys understand what they can and can't do, and play to their strengths. We really had to fight and claw our way back into the game."

Goldsboro had played soft pressure defense throughout the first quarters, but amped up its intensity to start the fourth. Three quick miscues led to eight quick points, which were part of a 12-0 run.

White and Kornegay combined to hit three consecutive 3-pointers during that stretch. The Cougars' slim 53-50 lead after three periods turned into a 65-50 cushion just two minutes into the final quarter.

"That's kind of been the story of our season that we'll give up stretches like that where the other team scores 10 or 12 straight points," said Moats. "We get in a hole and it's hard to catch up. The last few games, it's been the first half and tonight it was the start of the fourth quarter."

Randall Fulghum's 3-pointer pulled Aycock to within 67-56 around the four-minute mark. The Cougars boosted the advantage 74-60 with less than two minutes to go.

"We try to pride ourselves as a defensive team and maybe I've been pulling the reins on offense too much," said Reynell. "They're not running as fluid as they can on offense because we focus so much on defense. But those guys understand that defense is going to win us games.

"Defense is going to turn into offense."

It certainly did this time.