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GOLDSBORO — The Princeton High varsity boys basketball team spoiled Rosewood High’s senior night with a 48-35 victory on Feb. 6 in the bitter 1-A Carolina Conference rivalry.
The Bulldogs (17-2, 9-0 CC) jumped out to a quick 13-3 lead spurred on by Jaheim Taylor’s seven points in the first quarter. The team’s leading scorer would finish with nine points.
But in the second and third quarter, head coach David Cobb felt his team got complacent and outside of what they like to do. The Bulldogs were without starter Tyreese Joyner and dealt with foul problems and a humid gym that felt like a summer day after it rained, which Cobb said could’ve been a factor as well. The lull allowed Rosewood to be down just 27-25 heading into the fourth quarter.
“We stopped pushing,” Cobb said. “Rosewood forced us to play their style and then they came back.”
But in the fourth quarter Princeton got back to pushing the pace and clinched the game with a 21-10 run including freshman Nayshin Waller’s eight points in the fourth. It was Waller’s first game in the storied rivalry and he said he felt the intensity.
“Soon as we came out the huddle in the locker room, I felt the energy right then and it was a great experience in my first real rivalry game,” Waller said. “I loved the energy tonight. Good road win, we almost let it go.”
Waller led his team in scoring with 13 points. Roderick Benjamin led all scorers with 17 points, including 11 in the third quarter to bring the Eagles (11-6, 9-1) within two heading into the fourth quarter.
Cobb said he told his team that this is what playoff basketball is like. Cobb also said games this late in the season are important to prepare for the playoffs.
“I think it is good for us to get pushed like this,” Cobb said. “It brings them back to realize that you don’t just walk on the floor.”
Waller 13, Sullivan 8, Taylor 9, Farrier 8, Garris 4, Woodall 2, Wilkins 2, Klein 2.
Benjamin 17, Reid 6, Jackson 1, Harris 2, Searles 4, Brown 5.
Score by quarters:
Princeton 13 8 6 21 — 48
Rosewood 3 8 14 10 — 35