The Goldsboro Cougars easily defeated the Roanoke Rapids Yellowjackets 96-53 on Tuesday night in the opening round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 2A playoffs.
The opening round of the playoffs is a moment Goldsboro has been preparing for all season, and Goldsboro head coach Jamal Croom said the Cougars were ready for the challenge.
“We understand the moment,” Croom said. Everything we have been doing is (about) getting to this point, (and) putting ourselves in a situation to win a state championship.”
It didn’t take long for No. 2 Goldsboro to show why they were on a 15-game winning streak heading into Tuesday night’s game when they jumped out to an early 9-2 lead in the first quarter.
Five of those points came from Takorrie Faison, who got off to a great start in the game by blowing past several defenders for a dunk to give Goldsboro a 6-0 lead and followed the dunk up with a three-pointer to extend the Cougars’ lead to 9-2.
After a Roanoke Rapids basket, Faison slammed down his second dunk of the game to give Goldsboro an 11-4 lead.
Later in the quarter, Faison drained a three-pointer to give Goldsboro a 21-8 lead and then slammed the ball through the hoop for his third dunk of the game to give the Cougars a 26-13 lead.
At the end of the second quarter, Goldsboro led 28-17 thanks to 12 points from Faison and eight points from Amari Latham.
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Roanoke Rapids started off the second quarter with a 5-2 run to cut the Cougars’ lead down to 30-22, but any momentum the Yellowjackets had was quickly stifled as Goldsboro went on a 10-0 run to take a 40-22 lead.
Goldsboro continued to dominate throughout the second quarter, and at halftime, the Cougars held a 50-35 lead.
In the second half, Goldsboro continued to extend its lead, and the Cougars led 76-48 at the end of the third quarter before coming out on top by a final score of 96-53.
Joyner finished with a game-high 30 points, while Faison finished just behind Joyner with 28 points.
Croom said after the game he was proud of the way the Cougars controlled the pace of the game.
“We talked about controlling what we can control and making sure that we dictate the tempo, and I think we did a good job of that tonight,” Croom said.
With the win, Goldsboro improved to 25-2 overall and will host No. 15 St. Pauls on Thursday at 7 p.m. in the second round of the playoffs.