ROCKY MOUNT —
PINETOPS – The SouthWest Edgecombe Cougars got revenge Tuesday night from an earlier loss this season to the Greene Central Rams in what turned out to be an ugly and controversial game. The Cougars won 63-60. The win wasn't a pretty one and Cougars first-year head coach Anthony Burns wasn't impressed with his team’s performance and says they continued to lack focus.
"It was a horrible win, because we lacked discipline and focus," Burns said. "It looked like the first week of the season, because they didn't pay attention to the game plan and didn't realize what we were suppose to do until the second half."
The Cougars got a little help from Greene Central head coach Jim Cole with 1:06 left to play. With the Cougars trailing 57-56, the Rams missed a shot out of the timeout and Cole slammed his clipboard down in frustration and was given a technical foul even after he pleaded his case with the officials. Cougar Devonte WIlliams knocked down both free throws , then Javine Hinton hit a lay-up and converted the free throw on an old-fashioned theee point play to give SouthWest a 61-57 lead on the ensuing play.
The games drama didn't end there. Williams was fouled and was sent to the charity strip to shot two free throws. He missed the first one and Greene Central Rams guard Brandon Belcher got the rebound went down the floor and hit a three-pointer to cut the lead to 61-60. But after Belcher hit the shot, the referees realized it was suppose to be two shots for WIlliams. So by rule, they counted the Belcher three and gave Williams his second free throw opportunity that he knocked down to give the Cougars the 62-60 lead. The Cougars were awarded the ball back and AJ Dickens was fouled and added another point from a free throw and sealed the win.
"It wasn't an impressive win for us and we haven't gotten back to form to where we were early on in the season," Burns said. "We have regressed mentally and that bothers me the most."
Burns said his team practiced for an hour and a half Monday on just the game plan for the game and before the game he asked them the game plan and no one on his team could tell him what it was.
"I feel like they are just out there playing their style of ball and not what I have coached them to do," Burns said. "The second half they listened a little better and put the plan into effect."
Williams led the way for the Cougars with 16 points, while Hinton hit 11 and Dickens chipped in 10. Anthony Coley and Fabrion Bandy each added eight.
The Cougars went 15-28 from the charity strip and that didn't meet Burns' expectation, because he made his team shot free throws for an hour last week during practice, because they had missed 27 in a prior game.
"We just aren't focused when we shot free throws," Burns said. "It doesn't come from a lack of form, because they all have that. They just aren't 100 percent focused at the line."
The win improves the Cougars record to 12-9 overall and they sealed up fifth place in the Eastern Plains Conference finishing with a 4-8 record. They will play the fourth seed in the first round of the conference tournament Monday.
Lady Rams 46
Lady Cougars 24
The Lady Cougars finished the regular season winless after they were defeated in their season finale by the Lady Rams Tuesday night 46-24.
The season wasn't all bad, according to Lady Cougars head coach Sandra Langley. She said her team played with a lot of heart every game and had a great team bond the entire season and never gave up. She said that was impressive to her.
The Lady Rams dominated the game from the outset and did what everyone has done to the Lady Cougars this season, forced them to turn the ball over. The Lady Cougars had 26 turnovers in the game, which led to 14 Lady Ram points, but the Lady Cougars defense also forced 22 turnovers, but just couldn't capitalize them into points.
Montana York led the way for the Lady Cougars with seven points.
The lone senior on the Lady Cougars roster, Dawson Gould, finished her final regular season home game with five points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
Langley said she was pleased with the way Gould stuck in their and was a team leader this season. She said Gould told her that she thought that their tight team bond kept them together through the trying season.
The Lady Cougars will have one more crack at winning their first game of the season when the Eastern Plains Conference tournament starts Monday. The Lady Cougars will play the second seeded team in the conference which has yet to be determined.