Princeton boys escape Neuse Charter
By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on January 5, 2013 11:06 PM
SMITHFIELD -- The first chapter of a budding rivalry was written on Friday night.
Neuse Charter guard Jordan Sanders fired up a jump shot with one second remaining and watched as the ball bounced around the rim three times and then fell out.
Princeton escaped with a 47-46 victory.
"I have nothing but good things to say about the kids from Neuse Charter," Princeton head coach Jeff Davis said. "They played extremely well. We were fortunate that we made the last basket of the game and their final shot rolled out."
Princeton (6-7 overall) grabbed the lead in the first quarter behind some red-hot shooting by Michael Wooten, who tallied nine points in the first eight minutes. The Bulldogs led 13-10 after one quarter, but watched as the Cougars turned the tables in the second period.
Neuse Charter led 26-24 at halftime and maintained the advantage throughout the third quarter. Sanders and backcourt mate Jarrod Sealey constantly broke down the Bulldogs' defense and got good looks at the basket.
"We had to go to a box-and-two defense because their guards were breaking us down," Davis said. "I thought our biggest advantage was being bigger and stronger underneath the basket, and we had to find a way to use that advantage."
The two teams battled back and forth until the final minute.
With 43 seconds left in the game, Sealey sank the front end of a 1-and-1 at the foul line and gave Neuse Charter a 46-45 lead. Princeton got the ball back and Alex Whitley fired up a shot from the baseline. With four seconds on the clock, Ryne Woodard tipped the ball back in.
Trailing 47-46 with three seconds left, Neuse Charter threw a fullcourt inbounds pass that was tipped out of bounds by a Bulldog defender. The Cougars inbounded the ball a second time and Sanders got an open look from 15 feet.
The ball appeared to be on target, but clipped the back of the rim and rolled out.
Sealey led Cougars with 18 points. Devante Stevens added 14 points and Sanders finished with eight points.
Wooten led Princeton with 12 points. Whitley and Woodard each added 10 points.
Princeton opens Carolina 1-A Conference play Jan. 11 at Spring Creek.
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