Before Goldsboro’s game against James Kenan started, the Cougars honored senior Xavion Atkinson for scoring 1,000 career points.
However, despite Atkinson scoring a team-high 23 points, James Kenan defeated Goldsboro 77-63 on Tuesday evening.
“Xavion is a good player. He plays with a chip on his shoulder and with a lot of passion,” Goldsboro head coach Jamal Croom said. “Things didn’t go our way at the end.”
With the score tied 14-14 late in the first quarter, the Tigers reeled off a quick 4-0 run to take an 18-14 going into the second quarter.
The Cougars battled back and cut James Kenan’s lead down 20-20, but the Tigers responded once again.
With four minutes left in the second quarter, James Kenan went on a 9-0 run, and the Tigers led 29-20.
James Kenan never trailed again led 34-25 at halftime.
“James Kenan put us a position where the guys had to think,” Croom said. “Basketball is a thing where I can only do so much as a coach, so I can see it, but the guys have to recognize what James Kenan is doing, and we didn’t do a good job of that.”
The Cougars did cut into James Kenan’s lead early in the third quarter. Deontae Hooker’s layup and Jaikir Fowler’s free throws trimmed James Kenan’s lead down to 39-36.
But the Tigers refused to be denied, and they used a 20-11 run to take a 56-47 lead at the end of the third quarter, and in the fourth quarter, Goldsboro was unable to complete the comeback, and James Kenan left the Norvell T. Lee Gymnasium with a victory.
Fowler finished the game with 17 points, while Hooker and Noah Hancock both scored seven points.
“Going forward, I want to see that grit and tenacity,” Croom said. “I want to see the guys play with that Goldsboro spirit that we’re known for.”
Goldsboro (6-3) will look to snap its two-game skid against Spring Creek (0-10) on Thursday.