Clinton benefited from a crucial fourth quarter to defeat the Goldsboro, 67-64, on Monday evening.
Jaikir Fowler led the Cougars with 16 points, Justin Taylor finished the game with 12 points, and Xavion Atkinson added 10 points.
“As far playing, we did a good job, but we just didn’t do a good job rebounding, and that was the difference in the game,” Goldsboro head coach Jamal Croom said. “Just winning plays we didn’t make them, but the real difference in the game was rebounding, and it’s tough to be beat teams when you don’t rebound the ball.”
With the score tied 18-18 at the end of the first quarter, the Cougars (7-4 overall) used a 12-8 run to help build a 30-26 advantage at halftime.
In the third quarter, Clinton stayed within striking distance, but Goldsboro still held a 46-42 lead after three quarters.
“They threw different looks at us, and we responded to it,” Croom said. “We got open shots, and we got a lot of layups, and we did a good job of pressuring the basketball, but as good as we were at pressuring the ball and breaking their traps, when they send the basketball up and send five guys to the rim and we can’t get a rebound it’s going to be tough to beat a team.”
Then came the fourth quarter.
The Dark Horses grabbed command of the game with a 15-8 run, and Goldsboro suddenly found itself trailing 57-54.
Goldsboro attempted to come back, but Clinton continued to grow its lead.
Clinton took a 63-58 lead with a minute left, and the five-point deficit turned into a difficult mountain for Goldsboro to climb as Clinton sealed the outcome.
Goldsboro next hosts Wallace-Rose Hill (10-2) on Wednesday for its regular-season finale. It is also the Cougars’ senior night.
“I want the boys to close out the season on a positive note,” Croom said. “We are playing at home, so having that Cougars pride in defending your front.”