02/19/14 — Gators sink Rebels at free throw line

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Gators sink Rebels at free throw line

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on February 19, 2014 1:48 PM


CALYPSO -- With one last opportunity to impact its postseason destiny Spring Creek found a way to close out a critical road win.

The Gators went 14 for 19 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter during a 67-60 win over Carolina 1-A Conference foe North Duplin on Tuesday evening.

Spring Creek played its third straight road game in a four-day stretch and finished regular-season play 11-10.

"We wanted to be above .500, we haven't done that in six years," Gators' head coach Taylor Jones said. "That was a big accomplishment. We wanted to give ourselves a chance with a good winning percentage because I know percentage matters for the state playoffs.

"I feel like we've done what we need to do. I feel really good about what we did late in the season to get in."

Brandon Gonzalez led Spring Creek with a game-high 22 points and was 8 for 8 at the free throw line in the final quarter. Gary Williams contributed 16 points and Chad Spurgeon added 12.

Daron Goodman paced the Rebels with 16 points. Cody Ivey scored 13 points and Savon Scott had 11.

Spring Creek (7-7 CC) opened the game on a 10-0 run that was fueled by dribble penetration and easy baskets in the paint.

North Duplin remained patient offensively and used solid ball movement to chip away at the margin. Cody Ivey's free throws capped a 15-4 run that gave the Rebels their first lead at 15-14 early in the second quarter.

With his team again trailing by double digits in the third quarter, Goodman asserted himself. He knocked down a pair of 3-pointers and got himself to the free throw line as North Duplin pulled to within 38-33 late in the third quarter.

"I thought Daron played well," Rebels' head coach Ricky Edwards said. "We were just a basket away it seemed like. We just couldn't quite get over that hump. But, we played hard and Spring Creek played well."

Williams supplied points on critical offensive possessions in the second half and his 3-pointer extended the lead to 54-45 with fewer than three minutes to play.

The Gators went 9 for 10 at the free throw line over the last 2 1/2 minutes to seal the win. Spring Creek attempted 39 free throws to just 17 for North Duplin.

"I thought our depth really showed and I thought we finished the game knocking down free throws," Jones said. "We've got four or five guys we feel like can go up there (to the free throw line) and we did. So that was great."

The Rebels (5-13, 3-10) play host to James Kenan on Friday.