Ball-hawking pressure defense, speed and another big second-half run, the Goldsboro boys’ basketball team used all three to its advantage during a 69-48 triumph over East Central 2A Conference county foe East Duplin on Wednesday evening.
Senior guard Jaikir Fowler poured in a game-high 26 points for the Cougars, who improved their record to 2-0 this season.
Xavion Atkinson contributed 10 points, while Noah Hancock and Tajmari Joyner pumped in eight points apiece. Deontae Hooker knocked down six points.
“We have work to do, we fought hard, and we played through our mistakes,” Goldsboro head coach Jamal Croom said. “We just have to get back to work because we left a lot on the table.
“We’re getting what we want. We just have to execute.”
The first half was a back-and-forth game.
The Panthers held an early 6-2, but by the end of the first quarter, Goldsboro led 15-12.
The Cougars led 28-26 at halftime, but they used the second half to really turn up the pressure on the Panthers.
Using its full-court pressure defense, Goldsboro outscored East Duplin 22-6 in the third quarter, and the Cougars owned a commanding 50-32 lead at the end of the third quarter, and the Panthers never could cut into the Cougars’ lead in the fourth quarter.
“We really separated ourselves in the second half,” Croom said. “We work extremely hard on defense, and I tell the guys to reward themselves when they get a turnover.
“I’m proud of my guys for being 2-0, but we all agree we can better, and we will be better.”
Goldsboro next travels to James Kenan (2-1) on Friday.