02/18/11 — Stunner: Rosewood upsets No. 1 Princeton

View Archive

Stunner: Rosewood upsets No. 1 Princeton

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on February 18, 2011 1:47 PM

PRINCETON -- Rosewood's roller coaster ride continued on Thursday night.

The Eagles found themselves at a high point in the odyssey.

Four Rosewood players reached double figures en route to a 67-59 win over archrival Princeton in the semifinal round of the Carolina 1-A Conference boys' basketball tournament.

The victory sets up a date with Goldsboro tonight at 8 p.m. at Princeton for the tournament championship. A win would improve the Eagles' seed for the 1-A state playoffs which begin next week.

"We had to win Monday's game over Spring Creek to even guarantee a spot in the playoffs and now here we are with a chance to win the whole tournament," said Rosewood head coach Daniel Mitchell. "My guys deserve all the credit tonight. They played hard because they want to keep playing."

The Eagles opened the game with a 7-2 run and never trailed the No. 1-ranked Dawgs. Princeton cut the lead to two points late in the second quarter, but a 3-pointer by Dee Mabry reignited the Rosewood attack and led to a 29-23 lead at the intermission.

"I thought for an entire half they absolutely out-hustled us," said Princeton head coach Jeff Davis. "It looked like they wanted it more than we did. Rosewood's guys played their tails off."

The play that personified Davis' frustration came in the opening minutes of the third quarter when Rosewood forward Zach Thornton stole the ball at halfcourt and dribbled in for an uncontested layup. The ball came off the rim, but because no Princeton players were back on defense Thornton tipped the ball back toward the backboard.

After the ball bounced out again, Jonathan Franks collected the rebound, made the third layup attempt and drew a foul. The three-point play upped the Rosewood lead to 11 points and got the visiting fans on their feet.

Princeton (22-2 overall) was forced to turn up the defensive pressure in the final period to prolong the game. The strategy worked as Rosewood (12-9) missed seven consecutive free throws over a three-minute span in the fourth quarter. Princeton's Ben Jacobs countered with seven consecutive points to get the Dawgs back into contention with two minutes to play.

A pair of foul shots from Mabry and a second successful pair from Franks allowed the Eagles to close out the game.

"I thought the fourth quarter we played as well as we could have," said Davis. "We prolonged the game and gave ourselves a chance but it just wasn't enough."

Jacobs paced Princeton with 33 points and 15 rebounds. No other Princeton player scored more than six points.

"In the last game we did a good job slowing (Jacobs) down some, but the other guys killed us," said Mitchell. "Tonight we stuck with the gameplan and kept the other guys from scoring in double figures."

Thornton paced the Eagles with 13 points and six rebounds. Mabry added 11 points. Garrett Burns and Jacquez Raynor finished with 10 points apiece.