Thornton, Eagles upend archrival
By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on February 11, 2012 11:08 PM
PRINCETON -- Leave it to Rosewood to spoil archrival Princeton's senior night.
The Eagles got a huge game from Zach Thornton and held off a late charge for a 64-58 win over the Bulldawgs in the Carolina 1-A Conference regular-season finale for both teams on Friday.
Rosewood is the No. 3 seed and entertains North Duplin in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament Tuesday on its home court. Princeton claimed the No. 2 seed and an opening-round bye.
"We knew that we had a chance to improve our standing with a win and it was important for us to play well," Rosewood head coach Daniel Mitchell said. "We shot the ball well early and I thought we did a good job of executing in the half court."
The Eagles (10-9 overall, 6-4 CC) raced out to a 7-2 lead in the first 90 seconds of action. The hot shooting and excellent offensive rebounding continued and Rosewood's lead ballooned to 37-23 by halftime.
"We just fell too far behind too early in the ballgame," Princeton head coach Jeff Davis said. "We played better in the second half and we really had a chance to win the game, but it didn't go our way tonight."
Backcourt mates CJ Jeffreys and Dalvin Stancil led the Dawgs back into contention as they bombed away from behind the 3-point arc in the second half. Jeffreys scored 13 of his game-high 32 points in the period and Princeton (13-11, 6-4) trimmed the Rosewood lead to two points.
Jeffreys continued his scoring streak in the fourth quarter and even gave the Bulldawgs a 52-50 lead with four minutes left on the clock. Undaunted, Rosewood went back to pounding the ball to Thornton in the paint. A turn-around basket and a pair of free throws by the hard-working forward gave Rosewood the lead back for good.
Thornton finished the game with a double-double -- 22 points and 15 rebounds. Rosewood out-rebounded Princeton 36-16 for the game.
"Zach had a great night and that was part of the game plan," Mitchell said. "We wanted to get him the ball because we felt like he could score or make a move and get fouled on the low block. He did a fantastic job."
Dee Mabry and Joel Davis each added 12 points in the Rosewood win.
Stancil finished with 17 points and was the only Dawg in double figures aside from Jeffreys.
"Those are two of the guys that we want taking the shots," Davis said. "Tonight we just could not get it going on the glass and we didn't get enough big stops."