Gators complete sweep of Rebels

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CALYPSO - Go nearly seven minutes without a basket and escape with a win?

Spring Creek will take it…any time.

The Gators endured a lengthy, fourth-quarter scoring drought and slipped past North Duplin, 43-39, on Friday evening. Jamill Burrell’s two free throws sealed the outcome with 7.9 seconds left and allowed SC to complete the regular-season sweep of its border rival.

“We were short-handed and the last time we played them, it was very a physical game and it always is with them,” said Gators head coach Jeff Davis. “I’m just happy to get the win, proud of the way we hung on.”

Just eight players suited up for the Gators.

Davis benched starting point guard Deyhjon Leonard for disciplinary reasons and called up two JV players. Leonard’s absence took away a ball handler against the Rebels, who could never apply consistent pressure.

North Duplin missed 10 consecutive shots to start the game and fell behind 13-2.

“If we can’t score, we can’t get any defense [pressure] stuff,” said Rebels head coach Jeff Byrd. “We had to drop back and get in a set defense or transition defense. You saw in the fourth quarter that when we did score, we caused turnovers in our press defense.”

Alphin’s 3-pointer gave Spring Creek its biggest lead, 38-25, early in the fourth quarter.

Over the next six-plus minutes, the Rebels shaved the deficit to a single possession. DuJuan Armwood (16 points) scored eight points and converted a traditional three-point play during that stretch.

After a flurry of missed opportunities, Alphin drained five of six free throws within a 20-second span. Down by six, the Rebels (4-7 overall) attacked the basket, but committed two turnovers and lost an offensive rebound near their bench.

“The second half, I thought we moved the ball around better,” Byrd said. “Sometimes, we get to doing a little bit too much instead of spreading the ball around and getting better looks.”

Spring Creek (8-5) claimed its 10th straight win over North Duplin and 24th overall in 29 meetings since 2008.

“We could do things a lot better,” Davis said. “We’ve had a lot of close games this year and we’re learning to win them sometimes, so hopefully down the road it will pay off.

“We’ll see.”

Spring Creek 43, North Duplin 39

Spring Creek: Cole Honeycutt 11, Calvin Alphin 16, Jamill Burrell 11, Robert Strickland 5. North Duplin: DuJuan Armwood 16, Donovan Armwood 6, Eli Morrisey 4, Cole Beavers 4, Levi George 2, Billy McCoy 1, Ashton Lawton 3, Thomas Morrisey 2.

Free throws: Spring Creek 10-20, North Duplin 11-17.

Records: Spring Creek 8-5, North Duplin 4-7.

Next: Jan. 11 - Spring Creek at North Johnston, North Duplin at Neuse Charter

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