With its 84-53 victory against Princeton on Tuesday evening, Goldsboro put itself firmly in the driver’s seat of the Neuse Six 2A Conference.
“We’re gelling, and I challenge the guys every game to learn from the previous game, and we watch film and talk, and we just work on things that we need to get better at,” Goldsboro head coach Jamal Croom said.
Goldsboro is now 11-4 overall and 6-0 in conference play. The Cougars have also won 10 straight games. Princeton dropped to 7-5 overall and 4-2 in conference play.
And with Eastern Wayne (7-11, 3-3), Spring Creek (11-9, 3-4), North Johnston (10-10, 3-4) and Beddingfield (1-16, 0-6) all multiple games behind, the Cougars, who control their own destiny, are inching closer and closer to their third conference title in four years.
“I’ve been telling the guys not to get complacent or big-headed because, at the beginning of the season, it was on the other side,” Croom said. “So, now every time we get in jams, it’s already clicked for the guys because we experienced those losses at the start of the season.”
In what has become standard operating procedure, Ta’Korrie Faison had another standout performance. Against Princeton, the junior scored 41 points and grabbed 16 rebounds.
Over his last four games, Faison has averaged 37 points per game and is scoring from every area of the court. He is leading the 2A classification in rebounds (15.1) and is second in points (25.5) and blocks (3.4).
“Everything he does is in the flow of the offense. It’s not like he’s forcing anything. He lets the game come to him,” Croom said about Faison. “That’s what I’m more proud about because when you think of 40 points, you assume he shot every possession, and he didn’t. He just let it come to him.
“When you look at great basketball players from the pros to college to high school, it’s about efficiency, and he’s being efficient.”
It took a little bit of time for the Cougars to get rolling against Princeton.
With 3:40 remaining in the first quarter, the score was tied 9-9, but at that point, the Cougars flipped a switch and used a big 35-15 run to take a 44-24 lead at halftime.
“We’re a running a team. We like to get up and down, so our pressure kind of predicates our offense. So, as long as we’re turning people and getting the opponent to speed up, then it’s going to work in our favor,” Croom said.
Despite their best efforts, the Bulldogs could not hang around with the Cougars, whose lead never dipped below 17 points in the second half.
Tajmari Joyner scored 17 points, while Andre Williams contributed nine points. Aden Taylor led Princeton with 30 points.
Goldsboro travels to Beddingfield tonight. Princeton hosts Southern Wake Academy (2-15) on Thursday.