02/02/11 — Cougars' defense shuts down Eagles' attack

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Cougars' defense shuts down Eagles' attack

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on February 2, 2011 1:47 PM

Gutsy and composed while playing suffocating defense, Goldsboro proved there is no price tag for experience.

With battle-tested seniors leading the way, the Cougars erased a 14-point first-half deficit and survived for a 51-47, Carolina 1-A Conference victory at Rosewood on Tuesday night.

The Eagles led 31-20 at halftime, but the Cougars turned up their defensive pressure in the second half and created turnovers while harassing shooters. Goldsboro used a 15-5 run to pull within 38-35 entering the fourth quarter.

"In the second half our kids took it as a challenge to get back in the game and they stepped up defensively," said Cougars' head coach Patrick Reynell. "I told our kids if we had played that type of defense in the first half we would have never been in that situation."

James Williams' layup early in the fourth quarter briefly gave Goldsboro a 39-38 advantage. The two teams traded baskets down the stretch until Demarian Henderson's putback with a little more than two minutes to play gave the Cougars the lead for good at 46-44.

Rosewood's Jacquez Raynor had an opportunity to tie the game at the free throw line on the Eagles' next possession, but made just one of two shots. Williams' layup along with two free throws from Devonte White and one FT from Jalen Spruiel sealed the win.

Goldsboro forced 23 turnovers and outscored Rosewood 31-16 in the second half. After knocking down 13 field goals, including five 3-pointers in the first half, the Eagles were held to just six field goals and no 3's after halftime.

"That was the difference in the ballgame," said Rosewood head coach Daniel Mitchell. "They took care of the basketball better than we did and they hit more shots than we did. I knew coming out in the second half they were going to pick up their intensity and their pressure. We just didn't make some smart choices with the basketball."

Feeding off the energy of a boisterous crowd, the Eagles stormed out to a 20-10 lead late in the first quarter. Antonio Henriques' 3-pointer gave Rosewood its biggest advantage of the game at 31-17 just before halftime.

White finished with a game-high 17 points and Henderson provided 11. Robert Kornegay had eight and Williams added seven.

Jyante Raynor scored 11 points for the Eagles and Dee Mabry contributed 10. Henriques and Jacquez Raynor supplied seven points apiece.

Rosewood (8-7, 1-5 CC) plays host to Spring Creek on Friday night while Goldsboro (12-6, 5-1 CC) entertains No. 1-ranked and unbeaten Princeton with a share of first place in the conference on the line. The Bulldogs defeated the Cougars earlier this season.

"The first meeting with Princeton we had a good first half and we came out ready to play," said Reynell. "I hate to keep it simple, but we've got to be ready to play. One thing we learned is we've got to keep (Ben) Jacobs off the free throw line. The other thing is we've got to maintain our disciplines defensively."