12/21/11 — Cougars grab early lead, but Golden Falcons storm back

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Cougars grab early lead, but Golden Falcons storm back

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on December 21, 2011 1:48 PM

PIKEVILLE -- Play hard.

Play with intensity.

More importantly, protect our house.

The Charles B. Aycock girls' basketball team executed its plan and captured a 49-29 victory over county rival Goldsboro on Tuesday evening. Senior forward Imari Howell pumped in a game-high 16 points for the Golden Falcons, who avenged a loss to the Cougars two weeks ago.

"We know we wanted to come out and get this win on our home court, so we had to play with intensity," said Howell. "Goldsboro is a great team and they're going to help prepare us for our conference (play)."

The Cougars (8-2 overall) surrendered the first basket, but answered with a 9-1 run that forced an Aycock timeout just 21/2 minutes into the opening quarter. Shatoria Exum and Talaya Lassiter, who shared team-high scoring honors with eight points apiece, combined for three field goals during the early run.

The Golden Falcons (6-3) stormed back.

Senior center Ivy Hartzell, freshman forward Myleah Jones and Howell spearheaded a 15-0 run that carried over into the second period. Howell's 3-pointer off Courtnei Gilbert's assist gave Aycock its first lead, 11-9, just before the first quarter ended.

"That helped us out," grinned Howell.


Howell drained another 3-pointer and scored baskets off offensive rebounds as Aycock stretched its advantage to 29-16 by halftime.

Goldsboro struggled during the span. The Cougars went 11-plus minutes without a field goal, and their first points came on consecutive free throws by Brandy Johnson with 3:37 left before halftime.

"We didn't come ready to play, were going through the motions," said second-year Goldsboro coach Latina Bullock said. "I told our girls they were going to come after us and the team that wanted the game the most was going to be the one who wins. They wanted it the most.

"They played team ball tonight unlike us."

Aycock maintained its double-digit advantage throughout the second half. The Golden Falcons coerced the Cougars into 24 turnovers and owned a 42-30 edge on the glass.

Jones complemented Howell with an 11-point effort, while Hartzell chipped in nine points. Aycock recorded five blocked shots.

"The difference in tonight's game is that we were more mentally focused on what we were doing throughout the entire game," said Golden Falcons head coach Laura Romo. "Courtnei played a great game 32 minutes long mentally and kept us doing what we were supposed to be doing (offensively) ... she maintained control on the floor.

"We got great games inside from Ivy and Myleah. They did a fantastic job on the boards."