FARMVILLE – After a fast start during the first half, the SouthWest Edgecombe Cougars seemed to be in command. They were playing right with the Farmville Central Jaguars, but a late surge by the Jaguars doomed the Cougars. Farmville Central defeated SouthWest 62-49 in Eastern Plains Conference action. The Cougars fall to 10-6 overall and are 2-5 in conference play.
The Cougars hung with the Jaguars during the first half and did it without senior Javine Hinton. He was benched for the entire half by first-year head coach Anthony Burns, because he missed a practice Monday. Burns told his team from the beginning of the season that if his players were to miss any practice regardless of the situation, they wouldn't play during the first half of the next game. Burns said Hinton was no exception to the rule. Hinton did step his game up when he got on the floor in the second half. He scored six points, had four steals and seven rebounds. He forced three turnovers with his defensive pressure.
What Burns' Cougars did though was try to get revenge from a poor performance the first time the two teams met. His players responded and played above his expectations especially considering Hinton was on the bench and was unable to give his team a physical lift. He did cheer and try to coach his team along during that time though.
"I thought we played hard even without Javine on the floor," Burns said. "We missed to many easy opportunities that could have given us an advantage at different times in the game."
The opportunities that Burns is referring to are the missed free throws, lay-ups and careless turnovers his team was unable to play through. When the Jaguars began to full court trap in the second half, the Cougars would break the trap, but then they would make a careless pass or throw the ball away on the offensive end.
The Cougars turned the ball over 20 times in the game, which led to only 11 points for the Jaguars. The Cougars were able to turn their defensive pressure up and forced the Jaguars to turn the ball over 18 times. That led to 16 points for SouthWest.
"The ball just didn't fall our way and we couldn't execute," Burns said. "When we seem to make one mistake it turned into two most of the time and that hurt us. Back to back turnovers hurt us. We can't play like that because we have to score off of our opponents mistakes and not turn the ball over."
The Cougars were led by freshman Michael Bynum, who added 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Anthony Coley chipped in eight.
One of the big differences in the game was fouls and free throws. The Jaguars shot 25 free throws and made 14 of them, while the Cougars only went to the line nine times and made four. Burns had to rotate players the majority of the second quarter, because he had three players get into foul trouble early in the quarter. Coely was benched with two fouls at the 5:30 mark of the second quarter and Quay Wooten also picked up two quick fouls early on in the second.
Lady Jaguars 45
Lady Cougars 25
What most thought would be the Lady Cougars first win of the season were let down in the second half as the Lady Jaguars turned it up a notch and pulled away for the 45-25 win.
"We played hard and gave a good effort," Lady Cougars head coach Sandra Langley said. "I was pleased with our teams performance and hustle. We still have a young team and are put in tough situations sometimes."
The Lady Cougars were riding high in the first half when they stuck right with the Lady Jaguars. Neither team could seem to get an offensive flow going in the first frame. The Lady Jaguars led 5-3 after one. Both teams continued their struggles in the second quarter, but SouthWest tried to take advantage of Lady Jaguars mistakes. They couldn't capitalize though. SouthWest trailed 14-12 at the half and seemed to have a lot of energy.
The Lady Jaguars came out in the second half and did what most teams have done all season to the Lady Cougars and played them full court man-to-man defensively. When the Lady Jaguars did that the Lady Cougars folded and had a hard time advancing the ball up court. They turned the ball over 20 times in the second half and had 32 total in the game.
The Lady Cougars defensive pressure was tough. They forced 32 turnovers and couldn't capitalize off of the miscues though.
"We are still having a hard time breaking the press," Langley said. "We just don't have the ball handling skills to break the press. It is something we have to continue to work on in practice."
Montana York led the Lady Cougars with 10 points, while Kechonia WIlliams scored five.
"We are still struggling to score," Langley said. "We are rushing our shots and are missing easy chances to score. We have to stick with it and continue to work through it."
SouthWest travels to Greene Central today to play the Rams in an Eastern Plains Conference matchup.