The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

Sports

February 11, 2013

Cougars end 5 game skid; Lady Vikings roll over SWE

ROCKY MOUNT — PINETOPS – With both teams riding loosing streaks, someone's had to end Friday night when the SouthWest Edgecombe Cougars and the Tarboro Vikings met in Pinetops during Eastern Plains Conference action. The Cougars ended their five game loosing skid and defeated the Vikings 75-56. The Vikings are now riding a 10 game loosing streak and can't find a way to win and are in last place in the conference. The win bumped the Cougars back up to fifth with one game remaining.

"I think the fact that we finally had a home game may have had something to do with our performance, but I was pleased with the way we played overall," Cougars head coach Anthony Burns said. "We played with a lot of positive energy and that has to do with our fans."

The Cougars had struggled as of late and weren't able to pull out close games. They have lost two games in overtime and lost four out of the last five by seven points or less. Burns thinks it was the fatigue of his team and the fact that they had a long extended streak where they had a lot of games on the road.

The Cougars had been struggling with turnovers and missed free throws. In practice on Thursday, Burns made his team shot free throws for an hour and it paid off, because they shot 11-19 from the charity strip against the Vikings.

"Our guys needed to work on free throws and I think it paid off for us," Burns said. "We also needed to step up our intensity, because we had been lacking that lately. We slow down a lot during games, because we are too worried about making mistakes. We need to get past that."

Tarboro on the other hand, continued to struggle with the ball on the offensive end and made careless turnover, after careless turnover. They turned the ball over 29 times and that led to 22 points for the Cougars. The Vikings defensive pressure seemed to have no energy behind it, because they only forced the Cougars to turn it over 14 times, which didn't lead but to six points for the Vikings.

"They out played us all over the floor," Tarboro head coach Craig Savage said. "We left shooters open to make easy shots, we didn't rebound and we just didn't play. Defense has hurt us all season and especially on the boards."

Tarboro made a run early in the fourth quarter and cut the Cougars lead to nine after trailing by as many a 18 points, but the Vikings defense couldn't handle the Cougars on the offensive end.

"When you cut into a lead you have to get some defensive stops," Savage said. "We can't score like that and just lag back on defense and not play and let them have someone wide open to shoot the ball."

Cougar Devonte Williams was a big contributor to the Vikings defensive break down. He hit five three-pointers in the game and finished with a game-high 24 points. He shot lights out and led the Cougars one three big runs early on in the game. Javine Hinton and Anthony Coley, two of the senior leaders for the Cougars, made big contributions as well. Hinton scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Coley added 14 points and 12 boards.

The Vikings had only one player in double figures in scoring. Deantonie Exum-Pippen, who finished with 11. Maliek Hudson and Aaron Moore added nine.

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