02/17/11 — Ayden-Grifton edges Princeton

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Ayden-Grifton edges Princeton

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on February 17, 2011 1:47 PM

PRINCETON -- Ayden-Grifton battled until the final horn, and the effort was just enough to hold off hard-charging Princeton, which was looking for an upset Wednesday evening.

Charmaine Little buried a driving hook shot with 59 seconds to play and the Chargers held on for a 48-46 victory in the semifinals of the Carolina 1-A Conference girls' basketball tournament. Ayden-Grifton meets Goldsboro in a rematch of the 2010 final, won by the Chargers, at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

"This time of year I will take a win any way I can get it," said Ayden-Grifton head coach Jeff Dufour. "Princeton came out and played really well. We just made the last basket in a back-and-forth game."

The Chargers opened the game red hot on the offensive end and built a 13-7 lead after one period. Foul trouble and some poor decision making by the visitors allowed the Dawgs to get back into contention in the second period.

After consecutive baskets by point guard Megann Gerrell, Ayden-Grifton standout guard Derica Jones was charged with a blocking foul. Jones was also assessed a technical foul for showing her displeasure to the call.

Gerrell made three free throws and cut the Chargers' lead to 24-23 at halftime.

"We felt time Megann had the advantage because of her quickness against their defense," said Princeton head coach Marty Gurganus. "She was able to get free once we started spreading the court and she made some shots."

The teams battled throughout a tight second half. Ayden-Grifton opened a seven-point lead early in the fourth quarter, but Princeton immediately answered with a 6-0 run that included two baskets by Gerrell and a putback by Savanna Massengill.

Gerrell knocked down a jumper and gave the Dawgs a 46-45 lead with 90 seconds to play. On the Chargers' next possession, Little drove the right side of the lane and flipped the ball in. Princeton failed to convert on its next possession and Jones sank one of two free throws for the Chargers.

A desperation heave came up just short as time expired on the Princeton end.

"I am really proud of the way my girls played tonight," said Gurganus. "They are disappointed with the loss, but I think they understand how well they played."

Gerrell led the Dawgs with 19 points. Massengill added 10 points.

Jones paced Ayden-Grifton with 16 points and seven rebounds. Little added 10 points.