The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

Sports

January 7, 2013

Cougar boys outlast Bruins, girls fall again

TARBORO — PINETOPS — A run and gun fast paced offense is what the SouthWest Edgecombe Cougars are all about this year. They used their offensive scheme and big three-pointers Friday night to squeeze by Eastern Plains Conference foe the Beddingfield Bruins. The Cougars were hot from the floor in the first half and kept a steady paced offense going in the second to win 77-71. The Cougars improved to 10-3 overall and are 1-2 in conference action.

The Cougars defensive pressure was the key in the first half. They forced the Bruins to commit 16 turnovers and SouthWest turned that into 10 points during that stretch. They scored 20 points in the game off  of forced turnovers.

"It was a battle between two good teams," SouthWest head coach Anthony Burns said. "Our defense prevailed for us. We worked hard the entire game on the defensive end – which helped us come out on top."

Burns continued to rely on his senior leaders, Javin Hinton and Anthony Coley. Hinton led the way with 29 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, while Coley added 20 points and 14 rebounds.

"Javin and Anthony were the true leaders for us like they have been all season," Burns said. "They have the capability to put in work every night. They are coming in every game and putting in the work that I expect from them."

After winning the annual county holiday tournament, Burns had high expectations of his team coming off of the break. He wanted them to continue their fast paced play just like they did in the tournament. His team had worked on defense and offense after the tournament so they could try and turn it up a notch.

"We were ready to compete tonight," Burns said. "We are on a roll right now and are playing great as a team mentally right now. The gel of the team is coming together real nice for us right now."

The Cougars used a big run in the first quarter to jump out ahead of the Bruins. They hit five three-pointers in the first quarter. Coley and Devonte Williams hit two apiece, while Fabrion Bandy drained one from the wing. The Cougars took advantage of Bruin miscues and led 23-9 after one.

The Bruins cut into the lead in the second quarter and put three mini runs together and forced the Cougars to take a timeout after the Bruins had cut the lead to 10.

"I told them not to freak out and just stay cool under pressure," Burns said. "I told them not to get out of the game mentally and continue to play like we know how too."

Coming out of the timeout, the Cougars settled down and turned up the defensive pressure once again. They led 41-30 at halftime.

Late in the game, the Bruins mounted another run and made a comeback, but Coley and Hinton just weren't going to let that happen. They continued to be a terror on the offensive boards. They scored on six second chance opportunities late in the game and knocked down big free throws to help the Cougars seal the win.

Bandy added 13, while Williams finished with 11.

The win was big for the Cougars, because Burns knew his team would be able to compete in the conference this year. He has very high standards that he wants his team to meet and they are getting to the point of where he knows they can compete with anyone.

"We just can't let up," Burns said. "We can't settle for where we are right now. I am going to continue to preach to these guys everyday about how good I think we can be."

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