01/07/12 — Goldsboro outlasts N.Duplin boys in OT

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Goldsboro outlasts N.Duplin boys in OT

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on January 7, 2012 11:37 PM

CALYPSO -- Frustration that could have led to a bitter ending turned into a blessing instead for the Goldsboro High boys' basketball team Friday evening.

The Cougars also learned they can succeed when missing a key offensive element on the court. Senior forward Octavius Alston logged 20 points and 13 rebounds, and two-time defending Carolina 1-A champion Goldsboro opened conference play with a stirring, 67-66 overtime triumph over North Duplin.

And what a start it was!

Neither team held more than a two-possession lead throughout the intense-filled contest, which turned more physical with each play. Constant whistles disrupted the game's offensive flow until the fourth quarter and overtime.

"We were frustrated and when a team is frustrated, you get out of your element, you force things," said Goldsboro head coach Patrick Reynell. "We were all frustrated individually, and that showed on our offense and our defense. The grit (we showed) is good because when we did get frustrated, we didn't give up and pack it in against a very good team.

"But I also think we should have been more composed with the physical style. Their starting five is excellent and physical because we are a little bigger on the boards and a little more athletic than them. In the first three quarters we let the physicality get in our heads."

The Rebels (3-7 overall, 0-1 CC) led 45-41 after three quarters and kept their four-point advantage until the Cougars' Jalen Sprueil hit back-to-back baskets to forge a 49-49 deadlock. The game was tied at 51-51 and 53-53 before Breyon Johnson drained a 3-pointer off Devin Oliver's assist with 1:52 left in regulation.

Alston's offensive putback and Moses Ramsey's 3-pointer off Sprueil's assist pushed the Cougars in front, 58-56, with 52 seconds on the clock. Johnson (12 points) immediately converted a game-tying bucket and Goldsboro headed back downcourt with plenty of time on the clock.

North Duplin drew an offensive foul against Sprueil with four seconds to go, committed a turnover on the ensuing possession and the teams headed into overtime.

Oliver, who led all scorers with 22 points, hit his first two baskets of the extra four-minute session. Alston's three-point play off his own offensive putback briefly put the Cougars ahead 65-64. Oliver quickly answered with a go-ahead bucket and a partisan North Duplin crowd roared its approval.

Goldsboro's Damarian Henderson, plagued by foul trouble throughout the game, scored off an offensive rebound to make it 67-66 with 40 seconds left. After a flurry of action, the Cougars committed a turnover and the Rebels called timeout with 9 seconds to go.

Oliver received the inbounds pass, took a couple of dribbles toward his right and stepped into the lane. His shot hit iron, but he couldn't get the favorable roll.

"We had about three options (on the last play). We were going to penetrate and see what happens, then kick it out," said Rebels head coach Ricky Edwards. "We got a good look. That's just the way it goes. I thought both teams played extremely hard and that it was a well-played ballgame.

"I thought they hurt us on the boards, got some big rebounds."

Henderson, the Cougars' leading scorer, finished with 13 points despite his foul trouble which kept him on the bench for 13-plus total minutes in game time. Six-foot-6 sophomore Alonzo Tyson swatted six shots and grabbed five rebounds to help counter Henderson's absence on the court.

"Alston had a wonderful game rebounding, (had) good putbacks and his defense was amazing," said Reynell. "He's been playing second fiddle to Damarian all year and Julius (Murphy) has, too. Even though Zo missed a lot of easy chip shots, he was there and made a good effort on the offensive end.

"Our depth is great, but we can make that a curse when we get angry, frustrated and jealous. Tonight we kept it a blessing and didn't make it our curse."