ROCKY MOUNT —
WELDON – The North Edgecombe Warriors blew their chance of making the state playoffs Tuesday night against the Gates County Barons. Leading by four in overtime, the Warriors began to take some poorly uncontested shots and the Barons took advantage of the Warriors bad decisions and defeated them 48-40 in the Tar-Roanoke Conference tournament.
"We should know when to take good shots and understand the concept of having a lead in overtime," Warriors head coach Mike Jones said. "We made some bad choices in our shot selections in overtime and that cost us the game and a playoff spot."
Jones wasn't pleased with his team down the stretch and on three separate occasions in overtime he tried to call a timeout and his demand wasn't heard by the officials.
"I wanted to call the timeout to slow the guys down and tell them we didn't need to score because we were ahead," Jones said. "I didn't get the timeouts I asked for and that hurt because I couldn't go over our strategy."
Both teams shot the ball poorly the entire game. North Edgecombe missed nine shots in the first half that were within eight feet of the basket and their defense kept them in the game. They turned the ball over 21 times and forced the Barons to turn it over 22. Neither team took advantage of the other's miscues and converted in transition like they should have. The Warriors scored just seven points off of the forced turnovers.
"We didn't finish the majority of the time," Jones said. "We had numerous chances to take the lead and extend it but we didn't get the job done."
The Warriors were 2-7 from the free throw line and were 0-3 in overtime, which came back to haunt them.
"We didn't hit our free throws," Jones said. "When you miss clutch shots like that it comes back to hurt anyone."
Jones said the loss hurt bad and is heartbreaking for him and his players, because they had numerous chances to put the game away in regulation and didn't finish like he knows they are capable of.
Jones said even though his team didn't have a winning season, he feels like it was a success because his players stuck by him and didn't give up and they just kept fighting until the end. He is proud of his team for sticking together through the season and not giving up.