The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

Sports

December 28, 2012

Viking, Cougar boys advance to championship

TARBORO — The SouthWest Edgecombe Cougars had one thing on their minds Thursday when they played the Riverside Knights in the first round of the annual Edgecombe County Holiday Christmas tournament. Revenge. The Cougars wanted to pay back the Knights after the Cougars were defeated by the Knights in the championship game last year in the tournament. The Cougars got what they were looking for and waltzed to a 62-49 win.

"We played well and with a lot of energy," Cougars head coach Anthony Burns said. "Our defense was the key that helped us win."

SouthWest forced the Knights to commit 18 turnovers and they turned those turnovers into 12 points.

The Cougars used their transition game to blow open the game early on. SouthWest forced Riverside to call a timeout halfway through the first quarter after the Cougars exploded out of the gate and led 12-2. After the timeout, the Cougars continued to pour it on the Knights. They went on a 6-0 run after the timeout before the Knights were able to score another basket. The Cougars led 18-7 after one quarter.

The Cougars continued to dominate in the second quarter. They outscored the Knights 21-15 in the second behind Hinton and Anthony Coley’s tough nose offense. They combined for 12 points in the quarter. The Cougars led 39-22 at halftime.

"I told my guys to keep fighting at halftime," Burns said. "I didn't want us to let up and let them get back in the game. We needed to continue to play like we did in the first half defensively."

The Cougars responded to their coaches instructions. The Cougars continued their tough defensive pressure in their man-to-man defense. They forced the Knights to turn the ball over five times in the first four minutes of the third quarter and responded by turning the mistakes into eight points.

Riverside made a late run, but the Cougars would answer back and kept the lead in double digits.

Hinton led the Cougars with 14, while Coley added 12 and Bandy chipped in 10.

The Cougars will play county rival the Tarboro Vikings in the championship game today at 8 p.m.

Burns wants his team to come in play 100 percent on both sides of the ball. He said the key to winning will be to play great defense and don't give up the easy baskets.

Tarboro  55

North Edgecombe 44

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