The SouthWest Edgecombe Cougars used two big keys of their game plan in the second half to pull away from the Tarboro Vikings Friday night in Eastern Plains Conference action in Tarboro. The Cougars dominated the Vikings 70-48.
The first key the Cougars used was their pressure defense, which forced Tarboro turn the ball over 32 times and that led to 24 points for the Cougars. The other key was the Cougars used their ability on the offensive boards to get second and third chance shots.
"We didn't play well in the first half and I told the guys we needed to pick it up in the second half," Cougars head coach Anthony Burns said. "With it being a rival game and a packed gym, I think we were kind of nervous. I told them to go out and play our style of ball in the final 16 minutes and that is what we did – we were able to win."
The Cougars had their scoring spread out throughout the game. They had four players in double-figures. Jason Jones led the way with 19, Javine Hinton added 18, Michael Bynum 16 and Anthony Coley chipped in 11.
SouthWest used second and third chance opportunities to score 20 points in the game, which came from Tarboro being out rebound on the Cougars offensive end of the floor. SouthWest grabbed 16 offensive rebounds.
"We were horrible on defense and on the boards," Tarboro head coach Craig Savage said. "We have been out played on the defensive end all season and they aren't boxing out to get rebounds like they have been coached to do. It is just horrible."
Jones and Hinton were two of the big reasons that the Cougars jumped out with an explosive second half. They scored 12 of their points between the two on offensive put backs in the half.
"We were focused on the boards in the second half," Burns said. "We cleaned it up and put in work. I told them to hit the boards harder and it would pay off for us. They did it and it worked in our advantage."
Tarboro was unable to get any kind of rhythm going, because their offense seemed to be out of sync. They took a lot of uncontested shots throughout the game and could never get any type of momentum going offensively.
"We have too many individual players on the team," Savage said. "They don't know how to use their teammates on the offensive end because their are too may I's on the floor."
Savage said that his players say "My man didn't score or I didn't turn the ball over." He said he is going to work on fixing that type of selfish play even if it takes running the whole practice and not letting his team touch a basketball at all during the course of practice.
Senior Aaron Moore led the way for the Vikings with 12 points and had four assist. Quentin Roberson and Delvin Jones chipped in eight a piece and Markese Clapp added seven off of the bench.
Savage isn't happy with his senior production and said that is something else that needs to be fixed, because his team doesn't seem to have a leader on the court.
"The loss comes from a lack of effort on both ends of the floor because we don't have any leadership," Savage said. "We have to many selfish guys on the team. I take someone out and they turn and ask why am I being taken out of the game. Things like that are not going to make us a successful team."
Savage said the majority of the problem with the team isn't the potential of the players, but the selfishness and attitudes.
"We have to get rid of those two problems and I think we will be alright," Savage said. "There is no I in this team and that is all we continue to hear is I – I – I."
Lady Vikings 59
Lady Cougars 21
Tarboro Lady Vikings head coach Jamie Willoughby used a full court press with a man-to-man defense against the SouthWest Edgecombe Lady Cougars. That defense has given the Cougars a fit all season and has been one of their major downfalls. The Vikings executed to near perfection and defeated the Cougars 59-21.
Coming into the game, Willoughby knew that the Cougars struggled against pressure defense and knew if her team was to get any kind of comfortable lead then they needed to take advantage of the press and use it to their advantage.
The Vikings used that tactic against the Cougars Friday night and forced them to turn the ball over 32 times, which led to 28 points for the Vikings.
Tarboro used an early 15-0 run to start the game to blow the lead open behind some impressive play by junior guard Nyasha Savage. She scored all 13 of her points in that run and helped her team take an early 25-6 lead after one quarter.
"I wanted them to turn the intensity up and set the tone for the rest of the game," Willoughby said. "We played extremely well on defense and the press forced the turnovers I was hoping it would. That made the baskets come easy early on in the game. It was just a good overall win by our team."
The Vikings had 11 players to score in the game. Savage led the way for the Vikings. Lisa Jones added nine, while Kharlil Perry and Jazmine White chipped in eight a piece.
Willoughby was glad of the run and fast start by her players, because she hasn't seen them play like that in quite some time. She said she told her players before the game that they didn't need to come out flat and sluggish.
The quick and fast start was one of the best starts that the Vikings have had all season according to Willoughby. She said the only thing that she didn't like was the consistency of her team throughout the entire game. She said that mixing players up with different combinations probably caused some of that problem.
Willoughby said her team has finally seen when they have good practices leading up to a game, then they can carry over the practices into the game and give good performances.
"Hopefully this win will be a spring board heading into conference action Tuesday," Willoughby said. "We have to work hard in practice and go to a tough place at North Pitt Tuesday and play them. It isn't going to be an easy game."
SouthWest was led by Montana York. She scored seven points.
Head coach Sandra Langley said she is going to have to go back to the drawing board and start at the beginning again and smooth out the rough edges of her team.
The Cougars are winless this season and are pressuring themselves to try and get that first win. The Cougars have won only four games during the past three seasons.
SouthWest jumps back into action Tuesday when they host the Kinston Vikings.
Tarboro will travel to Bethel to play the North Pitt Panthers Tuesday.