Princeton bites back at Goldsboro
By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on February 5, 2012 1:53 AM
PRINCETON -- Princeton head coach Jeff Davis did not have to say much to motivate his basketball team Friday evening.
Goldsboro was the opponent and the history between the two squads was motivation enough.
The Bulldogs jumped ahead in the second quarter and delivered a 64-48 victory that further tightened the Carolina 1-A Conference title race.
"This was a big win for sure," Davis said. "We knew that if we wanted to stay in the hunt, it was a must-win game and our guys gave a great effort."
In their previous meeting, a wild ending led to a a one-point Goldsboro victory. A clock malfunction, a referee's ruling and a gym full of frustrated fans left the Dogs with a bad taste in their mouths and revenge on their minds.
Princeton turned up the intensity level for round two.
"We know that because we won the league the last two seasons we have a target on our back," Goldsboro head coach Patrick Reynell said. "The other teams want to beat us every time out and after the way things ended with Princeton at our place I knew that they would be fired up."
Goldsboro grabbed a 16-12 lead in the first quarter and maintained the advantage through the first three minutes of the second period. Princeton's CJ Jeffreys got his team on track with five consecutive points and ignited a 16-6 run to end the first half.
The Bulldogs led 37-26 at the break.
Content to play to its strength, Princeton (12-10 overall, 5-3 CC) slowed the pace of the game down to a crawl in the second half. The Dogs limited the Cougars' offensive possessions, while Jeffreys and backcourt mate Dalvin Stancil dictated the flow.
"That is our plan against everybody to get a lead and get to the fourth quarter," Davis said. "Our strengths are ball handling and free throw shooting, so if we have the lead we feel pretty good about it in the later stages of the game."
Goldsboro (13-8, 5-3) never got closer than seven points in the fourth quarter.
AJ Smith emerged the leading scorer for Princeton with 21 points and eight rebounds. Jeffreys added 16 points and Aaron Simpkins pitched in 11 points.
"AJ has gotten consistently better as the year has gone on," Davis said. "CJ and Dalvin both played well, Aaron Simpkins hit some big free throws down the stretch. It was really a team victory."
Damarian Henderson paced Goldsboro with 13 points and eight rebounds. Julius Murphy had 10 points and Moses Ramsey added nine. Goldsboro (13-8, 5-3) has lost back-to-back, regular-season conference games for the first time since joining the league in 2009.
"Right now we are having trouble making shots," Reynell said. "I thought my guys stayed in the game and hung tough, but it definitely feels like shots that we were making earlier in the year are not going in right now."
Goldsboro visits Spring Creek on Tuesday, while Princeton is the guest of conference leader Ayden-Grifton.
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