02/02/13 — Princeton boys take down Spring Creek

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Princeton boys take down Spring Creek

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on February 2, 2013 11:13 PM

PRINCETON -- Princeton could not afford another conference loss to Spring Creek.

The Bulldogs playoff hopes hung in the balance on Friday night against the Gators. The home team took care of business and earned a 61-44 victory over their Carolina 1-A Conference rivals.

The Bulldogs' win earned the team a split of the season series with the Gators and moved them into sole possession of fourth place in the conference standings.

"Spring Creek got us at their place earlier in the year and we knew we had to get that game back," Princeton head coach Jeff Davis said. "I thought we did a good job in the second half of knocking down some open shots and that was good enough to get a win."

The Bulldogs (8-9 overall, 2-3 CC) charged out of the gate and opened up a 20-11 lead after the first quarter. Unphased by the deficit, Spring Creek battled back in the second eight minutes and pulled within three points at halftime.

Princeton's lead was just 28-25 at the intermission.

"I thought we played well in stretches," Spring Creek head coach Taylor Jones said. "Our shooting was just inconsistant and that kept us from ever taking a lead."

Princeton led 33-31 midway through the third quarter, but a pair of missed opportunities on Spring Creek's offensive end cost the team a chance to jump in front. The Bulldogs answered with consecutive baskets from Alex Whitley and Tanner Woodard and embarked on a 12-2 run that essentially put the game away.

"I think some of our troubles are because we lack experience," Jones said. "We start four sophomores and only one of those ever got varsity minutes before this season. We tend to go too fast at times and that leads to missed shots and turnovers."

Brandon Gonzalez paced Spring Creek (4-11 overall, 1-4 CC) with 12 points. Trey Hammonds and Daniel Krantz each added 10 points in the defeat.

Princeton was led by Whitley's 14-point outing. Michael Wooten added 13 points and Nicholas Cobb tallied 11 points in the win. Colby Norris finished with 10 points.

"The key to the game was our defense in the second half," Davis said. "We were able to stay in front of (Spring Creek's) guards a little better and we kept them from getting easy baskets. That set up our half-court offense as the game went down to the end."

Princeton plays host to North Duplin on Tuesday night. Spring Creek entertains Goldsboro on Monday.