02/22/13 — Goldsboro pulls away

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Goldsboro pulls away

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 22, 2013 1:47 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- "Work hard."

"Go get 'em."

"Don't quit."

Spring Creek fans offered those words of encouragement when Goldsboro made an early third-quarter run Thursday evening. But the Gators had nothing left in the tank.

Crucial missed possessions helped fuel the Cougars extended their win streak to 13 games with a 65-38, semifinal-round victory in the 2013 Carolina 1-A Conference boys' basketball tournament.

Goldsboro (18-6 overall) opposes Ayden-Grifton in the championship contest today. Tip-off is 8 p.m. at Kornegay Arena on the Mount Olive College campus.

"They gave us a battle and I told our guys to look out for them because Spring Creek needed to win the tournament to get into the (state) playoffs and they had knocked off Princeton," Goldsboro head coach Russell Stephens said. "They were riding that high. They came out tonight and did exactly what they needed to."

The Cougars grabbed an 18-8 lead only to see it evaporate in the final seconds of the opening half. The Gators played under control despite the fast tempo and forced Goldsboro take shots it didn't like around the basket.

Tre Hammonds' free throws forged a 25-25 deadlock. Lonzia Tyson's basket ended Goldsboro's six-minute drought and gave the pre-tournament favorites a 27-25 advantage at intermission.

"Once we started taking care of the ball, we got some shots that we wanted and were able to get people open off of our ball movement," Spring Creek head coach Taylor Jones said. "We handled the ball really well and then we wore down. With their five for five (substitution pattern), they just wore us down."

Leading 29-28 early in the third period, Goldsboro scored eight of the next 10 points. Two four-point swings occurred during that stretch when the Gators missed two shots within five feet of the basket and the Cougars converted on the other end.

Goldsboro owned a 43-32 advantage after three periods.

"I had to remind them (at halftime) why we were here and not just go through the motions of playing a game," Stephens said. "You have to step on the court to play ... can't assume a team is going to lay down against you. Spring Creek came ready to play in the first half.

"The second half we settled down a little bit, picked up the defensive intensity and were able to get some easy baskets inside."

The fifth-seeded Gators (6-16 overall) managed just three fourth-quarter field goals. The Cougars hit eight field goals, including a pair of 3-pointers to seal the outcome.

Damarian Henderson and Jaylen Moore paced three Goldsboro players in double figures with 12 points apiece. Rasheen Artis added 11. Lonzia Tyson contributed seven points, nine rebounds, three assists and five blocked shots.

Hammonds had 13 for the Gators.