12/28/11 — Cougars avenge early season loss to archrival Saints

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Cougars avenge early season loss to archrival Saints

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on December 28, 2011 1:48 PM

Goldsboro approached its rematch with Southern Wayne as an opportunity to prove something to nobody but itself.

The Cougars found plenty of answers in an 88-82 victory on Tuesday night inside Norvell T. Lee Gymnasium.

The first quarter was played at a frantic pace with both teams executing well in transition. The two rivals combined to knock down seven 3-pointer's in the opening eight minutes as the Saints opened up a 30-25 lead after one period.

Chris Artis contributed 14 first-half points for Southern Wayne and the Saints led 40-36 with 3 1/2 minutes remaining before halftime. Goldsboro took a brief lead on Quavus Holloman's 3-pointer late in the second quarter. Andrew Matthews' lay-up in the closing moments of the first half sent Southern Wayne (10-3) into the locker room with a 48-47 advantage.

The Cougars got a pair of early third-quarter baskets from center Damarion Henderson and Holloman sank two 3-pointer's as Goldsboro took a 60-57 lead. Holloman's free throws capped a 7-0 Cougars' run to close the quarter and Goldsboro took a 69-66 cushion into the final period. Holloman finished with a game-high 25 points after scoring a career-high 28 points in a win over Eastern Wayne on Dec. 22.

"Quavus' performance the last two games has to do with his attitude," Cougars' head coach Patrick Reynell said. "This is a kid as a freshman who people labeled as an "attitude problem" and things like that. I think you see that his attitude is positive and he realizes if he's not getting it done he has teammates he can rely on. He's a great shooter."

Goldsboro (7-5) began fourth quarter on an 11-4 run to build an 80-70 lead. The Saints continued to chip away and pulled to within 84-80 with 65 seconds to play. Southern Wayne shot just 2 for 9 from the free throw line in the final quarter and shots that went down in the first three periods suddenly weren't falling

"We were able to make a little run there at the end to make it competitive but our defense has got to get better," Saints' head coach Russell Stephens said. "We had our opportunities but we just couldn't put them in. We've been good at the free throw line all year and I don't know what we shot in the fourth quarter but it wasn't good."

Julius Murphy drained a pair of key free throws and Moses Ramsey's lay-up sealed the win for the Cougars. Henderson scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds for Goldsboro. Jalen Sprueil had 13 points.

"We talked about before the game this kind of being a statement game for nobody other than us because early in the season we haven't been executing," Reynell said. "I was very pleased with our team's poise in the second half. I feel like the past two games we've found an identity."

Jamiel Price led Southern Wayne with 19 points. Artis and Matthews both scored 18 points. Trey Allen had 13 points and Ronnell Outlaw supplied 10.

The Saints resume Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference play on Jan. 3 at Eastern Wayne. Goldsboro opens Carolina 1-A Conference play at North Duplin on Jan. 6.