North Lenoir deals Goldsboro first loss
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on December 8, 2010 1:47 PM
Trailing by nine points on the road midway through the third quarter, North Lenoir appeared to be on its way to becoming Goldsboro's latest victim.
The Hawks displayed poise in the clutch, got key defensive stops and made big baskets when it mattered in a 56-53 win inside Norvell T. Lee Gymnasium on Tuesday night.
James Williams' layup gave the Cougars a 36-27 lead midway through the third quarter. North Lenoir closed the quarter on a 7-0 run, capped by Marsharee Troy's free throws that trimmed the deficit to 36-34.
Devonte White's 3-pointer and layup put Goldsboro in front 43-38 with fewer than six minutes to play. Another 7-0 run gave North Lenoir the lead for good after Billy Summers sank two free throws with fewer than five minutes left in the game.
Undeterred by the hostile environment, the Hawks refused to go away and continued to sink critical free throws and knock down tough shots. After the Cougars pulled to within 47-46, Jaquan Williams hit a hanging jump shot in the lane with less than three minutes to play that stretched the margin to 49-46.
After Robert Kornegay's 3-pointer cut the lead to 54-63, Williams sank two free throws with 14 seconds remaining to give North Lenoir a 56-53 advantage.
"It was good to come out and hit some big shots," said Hawks head coach Anthony Lofton. "I told our kids I thought our defense in the fourth quarter was pretty good. I thought we kept them off the boards pretty good.
Goldsboro called timeout with eight seconds left to set up one final play. Devonte White's potential game-tying 3-pointer was off the mark.
"We wanted to set Robert up in the corner almost as a decoy," said Cougars head coach Patrick Reynell. "We figured they knew we were going to go to the corner with it and set a double pick. We wanted everyone to suck to Robert or Corteiz and set that pick so Devonte would be able to turn right around and pop a shot.
"It didn't develop but it's something we can work on."
N.C. State football recruit Maurice Morgan led North Lenoir with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Summers provided 13 points and six rebounds.
"We went to a couple of traps in the fourth quarter to stop their penetration and I thought Maurice came up with some big steals," said Lofton. "Maurice is a senior and Billy is a sophomore. I think Billy is going to be ready to replace him in the near future. I thought he was a man down on the inside on the block tonight."
Williams scored 18 points and grabbed six rebounds. White added 11 points and Damarian Henderson had 10.
Goldsboro struggled against North Lenoir's 3-2 zone defense in the fourth quarter. The Cougars were plagued by empty possessions as a result of missed shots or turnovers. Goldsboro was just 7 for 21 from the free throw line.
"That was the game," said Reynell. "The odd-front zone has been our Achilles' heel this year and last year. We really need to think about a zone offense against a 3-2 or a 1-3-1 that works. We prepared a lot for 2-3 and we just didn't see one tonight. The execution is a reflection of the coach. I also felt like a lot of our guys wouldn't attack."
Goldsboro (3-1 overall) visits Southern Wayne on Friday. North Lenoir travels to South Lenoir today.
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