PINETOPS – Playing team and fundamentally sound basketball is two of the key things SouthWest Edgecombe Cougars head coach Anthony Burns wanted from his team in their rematch against the Nash Central Bulldogs Tuesday night. He got both of them from his team as they defeated the Bulldogs 67-61 in non-conference action. SouthWest improves to 2-1 in the young season and they got their revenge after an early loss this season to the Bulldogs.
"We played well and didn't give up," Burns said. "This game was a little different then the first time we played them because we were ready to play."
Two of the leaders were senior captains Javin Hinton, who led the Cougars with 19 points and seven rebounds and Anthony Coley who added 13 points and 10 rebounds.
"We have harped on Javin and Anthony as captains to lead us on the floor," Burns said. "I like to give my captains the leadership position to be the floor generals and those two stepped up and did a heck of a job."
Both teams were back and forth throughout much of the first quarter. With 3:27 left in the first, Fabrion Bandy hit a three-pointer from the wing to give the Cougars a 13-8 lead. After Darrin Williams hit one of two free throws, Hinton responded for the Cougars and hit back to back jumpers to give the Cougars an 18-14 lead with 44 seconds left. The Cougars forced the Bulldogs to turn the ball over on the ensuing possession and Coley drove to the basket and hit a layup. The Bulldogs added a basket to end the quarter and SouthWest led 20-16 after one.
Turnovers and missed opportunities hurt the Cougars in the second quarter, but they didn't give up and continued to battle through the mistakes. With 3:50 left before halftime, Hinton hit a six foot jumper inside the paint to give them a 25-23 lead, but the Bulldogs responded right back and forced two consecutive Cougar turnovers and scored on both miscues by the Cougars to take the 27-25 lead with 3:06 left. Hinton then hit a layup and Quay Wooten answered with a put back off of a missed shot with 1:12 left to tie the game at 29-29. Nash Central scored five straight points and then Bandy hit a layup and was fouled at the buzzer. He missed the free throw and SouthWest trailed 34-31 at the half.
The Cougars turned the ball over 10 times in the first half and seven came in the second quarter while forcing the Bulldogs to commit 10 turnovers.
"I told the guys at halftime to keep fighting and work hard," Burns said. "We played good in the first half except for few mistakes."
The Cougars were eager and came out with a spark to start the third quarter. They opened up the quarter on a 10-3 run. Coley and Wooten hit a basket apiece, Hinton hit two shots and Cazmear Allen hit jumper during the run. The Cougars led 47-44 after three.
It was back and forth throughout the fourth quarter with both teams putting a couple of mini runs together, but the Cougars continued to fight like their coach had asked them to. With 2:40 left in the quarter SouthWest led 60-54 and forced the Bulldogs to turn the ball over and Hinton hit Coley on an outlet pass and Coley threw the ball down with authority on a two handed dunk to give the Cougars the 60-54 lead. After another Bulldogs turnover, Wooten made a layup. Nash Central then scored two straight baskets, but Bandy answered right back for SouthWest and gave them a 64-58 lead. Hinton then hit one of two free throws on a technical foul after the Bulldogs a called a timeout and didn't have any remaining. Coley then hit a pair of free throws to seal the win.
SouthWest turned the ball over 24 times and forced the Bulldogs to turn it over 22 times. The Cougars converted the turnovers into 16 points.
Burns was pleased with his teams performance in the second half and was proud of them for fighting back through the mistakes.
"We just have to keep working hard and continue to get better," Burns said. "We are still not great but we are decent. I won't say we are good yet but if we keep working then we will get better."
Burns said the key to the win was his guys didn't quite and played hard the entire game. He said his team was playing with a lot of heart and he was pleased with his bench play.
Lady Bulldogs 75
Lady Cougars 21
SouthWest Edgecombe Lady Cougars head coach Sandra Langley and her Cougar teams have taken plenty of losses along the way and have won their fair share of games as well. She has coached some great teams and some very inexperienced teams. This season is the latter, because she has only one senior, one junior, seven sophomores and two freshman on her squad. There is a lack of varsity experience and it showed Tuesday night as her team committed 62 turnovers which led to 48 points. All Langley could do was coach her team through the mistakes.
Her Cougar squad was forced to break a full court man to man press against the Nash Central Lady Bulldogs, but the Cougars had a hard time doing that the entire game as Nash Central never let off of the gas and pressed the entire game. The press and man to man defense forced the Cougars to commit the massive amount of turnovers. Nash Central went on to defeat the Cougars 75-21.
"We have to keep remembering that we have a lot of young players this year," Langley said. "We are learning as we go this year. We are just going to keep working on reducing the mistakes."
SouthWest didn't take a shot in the game until there was 2 minutes left in the first quarter and they only took two shots the entire quarter. They didn't take but 28 shots the entire game. They didn't score their first basket of the game until the 4:12 mark of the second quarter.
After an early timeout, Langley continued to coach her team and tried to explain to them how to break the full court press, but her team didn't listen to the veteran coach. They continued to pick up their dribble and Nash Central would double team the Cougar ball handlers after they stopped their dribble and then the Cougars would try to throw the ball over the top of the Bulldog defenders and another Nash Central player would jump and steal the ball which gave them an easy layup.
SouthWest trailed 22-0 after one quarter and were forced to turn the ball over 21 times in the quarter alone.
The second quarter wasn't any better as the Bulldogs continued to press, the Cougars committed 14 turnovers that quarter. With 4:12 left before halftime, senior Dawson Gould scored the Cougars first basket of the game. She finished the game with four points.
The bright spot of the game was sophomore Nasia McDowell. She chipped in eight points for the Cougars while sophomore Montana York added five points.
Langley talked to her team after the game and told them that they had to try and reduce the turnovers and learn how to beat the press.
"We have to learn to be patient and cut down on the mistakes," Langley said. "When it is a man to man you have to dribble to break it and when it is a zone then you have to throw short quick passes. We are still learning."
Langley said her team needs to learn how to see the floor and fill their lanes to control and beat the press. Spacing is very important.