LEGGETT – The North Edgecombe Warriors played with intensity and poise during the first half Friday night when they hosted Tar-Roanoke Conference rivals the Northampton Jaguars. The second half was a different story as the Jaguars went on big runs and used Warrior turnovers to take advantage of the game and went on to defeat the Warriors 69-49. The Warriors fall to 3-11 overall and are 2-2 in conference action.
"It is frustrating seeing things like this happen," Warriors head coach Mike Jones said. "We made adjustments at halftime and then we came out after the half and the guys just don't execute. It is just simply frustrating."
The adjustments Jones tried to make for his Warriors were shutting down the passing lanes in the middle of the paint at the free-throw line on the defensive end of the floor where the Jaguars were beating them. Northampton's two big men, Ketrell Miles and Berkeil Mosses would flash to the middle of the paint and catch the pass, turn and shot. They combined for 47 points and also grabbed 24 rebounds.
"Those two dominated the boards tonight and we didn't fight for rebounds like I thought we should have," Jones said. "We were weak on the boards. We didn't play the passing lanes to the middle against them and we didn't have our hands up on defense. It was just a lack of effort on the defensive end – that hurt us."
The other adjustment that Jones made at halftime was on the offensive side of the ball when the Jaguars were trapping the Warriors on the wings and were jump trapping the Warriors at mid-court when they crossed the half court line. The traps led to 12 turnovers by the Warriors, who committed 30 total in the game. The Warrior miscues led to 20 points for the Jaguars.
When the Warriors would turn their defensive pressure up, they forced the Jaguars to turn the ball over 21 times. The key was, the Warriors couldn't convert the Jaguar mistakes into points. North Edgecombe only scored 10 points off of the turnovers they forced.
"We made these adjustments and the players said they knew what we had to do but we just didn't act on it," Jones said. "We didn't control the ball on our end of the floor and the traps continued to hurt us in the second half and we turned it over too much. The mistakes hurt us big time."
Jones said the basic fundamentals were what really hurt the Warriors. He said they came out and play a good first half and then fall apart in the second when all they had to do was follow basic instructions.
The Warriors did have two bright spots on the floor on the offensive end despite the turnovers. Ronyell McDowell led the Warriors with 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while teammate Rodney Conyers chipped in 13 and grabbed 10 rebounds.
"I was pleased with Ronyell and Rodney's performance," Jones said. "The thing is, Rodney has to learn he can't take those ill-willed shots like he is taking. I want him to settle down offensively and try to be a leader for us. He just needs to let his game come to him and he could be an explosive player. Ronyell was good for us and he was a big contributor for us. He made some good shot selections that I was pleased with."
The Warriors are off for a week because of exams. Jones said his team will be just working on defense the entire week. He wants his team to take more pride in their defense. He said if they do then they will be rewarded in the end and will be a better team.
Lady Warriors 51
Lady Jaguars 35
In girls action, the Lady Warriors used their defensive pressure to turn the heat up in the second half against the Lady Jaguars Friday night in conference action. The Warriors forced the Jaguars to turn the ball over 47 times and used that to their benefit for a big second half performance where they scored 32 points and went on to defeat the Jaguars 51-35.
"My girls did everything I asked them to do," Warriors head coach Marion King said. "We hustled and played team ball the entire game. We had great communication on both ends of the floor the whole four quarters. I couldn't have asked for a better win tonight – they did everything I asked them to do."
King did a lot of rotating during the second half and made sure her girls weren't getting tired. She played every player on the bench at least four minutes during the game which benefitted the Warriors as they ran the Jaguars down as they picked up their pace.
The Warriors were led by MarQuisha Tucker who scored 12 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. She is coming off of an ankle injury where she had been sidelined from action for 10 days.
King made a move before the game Friday and moved some of the JV players up to play for her varsity team. She was pleased with Tamar Harper's performance as the freshman guard chipped in 11 points and grabbed six rebounds had two blocked shots and three steals.
King said she made a coaching decision and sat one of her leading scorers Kayla Booth out of the game for the first 20 plus minutes. King made Booth sit for the first two and half quarters before she decided to put her in the game. When Booth did play, she was a terror on the defensive boards and grabbed six rebounds and scored four points in just seven minutes of action. She also had two blocked shots.
The Warriors defensive pressure played a big part in both halves of the game. They scored 27 points off of the turnovers they forced. The Warriors still had trouble controlling the ball at times, as they had 21 turnovers, but weren't affected by the mistakes because the Jaguars didn't score but seven points off of the turnovers.
"I told the girls that we needed to slow the ball down and be patient," King said. "I told them at halftime we needed to capitalize on the turnovers and we did a better job of that in the second half. Once they saw how it worked then they began to play up to their potential and did the right things."
The Warriors were without twins Shanika and Tanika Scott, who were both sick.
The Warriors will continue to work on their defensive pressure and forcing turnovers during their week off.
King said overall she waspleased with her teams defensive pressure, but think there is room for improvement. She wants the offense to start clicking like the defense has began to do.
They jump back into action Friday when they host the Weldon Chargers in conference action.