12/13/12 — Hungry Firebirds hold Cougars to 10 second-half points

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Hungry Firebirds hold Cougars to 10 second-half points

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on December 13, 2012 1:47 PM

Southern Nash was the hungrier team at Norvell T. Lee Gymnasium on Wednesday night.

The Firebirds held Goldsboro to 10 points in the second half and rolled to a 55-35 victory -- their first of the season.

"You have an opponent that had not had a taste of victory and once they got an opportunity they took advantage," Goldsboro head coach Russell Stephens said. "They played a very good second half and they earned it tonight."

Neither team started the game particularly well.

The teams combined for the same number of personal fouls (19) and made field goals. The Cougars' clear size advantage and ability to push the ball into the post allowed them to build a 25-20 advantage at the intermission.

Southern Nash came alive at both ends of the floor in the second half.

The Firebirds (1-5 overall) stepped up their full-court press and forced the Cougars into three consecutive turnovers to begin the third quarter. A 12-3 run followed and the Firebirds took the lead for good on a putback by Marques Wright.

The inability to handle the press defense plagued Goldsboro throughout the second half as Southern Nash's lead ballooned to double digits.

"We have to do a better job of staying out of panic mode," Stephens said. "It wasn't just the guards, it wasn't just the forwards, it was everybody tonight."

Chi-Ali Bunn led the Firebirds with 15 points and nine rebounds. Rashid Campbell added 12 points and Wright chipped-in 10 markers.

Damarian Henderson emerged the lone Cougar player in double figures with 11 points. Lonzia Tyson added six points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

"In our home gym we have to score more than 10 points in a half to win a game," Stephens said. "We missed some open shots in the third quarter and we got frustrated and it took us right out of the game."

Goldsboro (3-3 overall) travels to Eastern Wayne on Friday.