02/17/17 — BOYS' BASKETBALL: Spring Creek bounces Princeton in semifinals

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BOYS' BASKETBALL: Spring Creek bounces Princeton in semifinals

By Justin Hayes
Published in Sports on February 17, 2017 10:03 AM

CALYPSO -- Sophomore guard Dayquan Bynum scored 15 points, grabbed three rebounds and paced a baseline-to-baseline victory by the Spring Creek varsity boys' basketball team over pesky Princeton High in semifinal-round play of the Carolina 1-A Conference tournament Thursday evening.

The triumph moved SC to 19-6 on the season and into a matchup with James Kenan in tonight's championship final.

Bynum was steady from the outset, prompting the Gators' early action with a pair of deep triples and solid free-throw shooting to help manage a wild, whistle-prone opening half.

At the break, SC led 29-24.

Princeton, however, refused to go quietly.

The Bulldogs, who rallied to victory from a 25-point deficit in Wednesday's quarterfinal round to conquer Lakewood, again found magic late in the contest -- this time courtesy of guards Earl Gibson, Jr. and Rahjai McPhatter.

Time and again, the duo found buckets to keep matters close, but ultimately fell victim to Spring Creek's revolving door of versatility in the game's waning minutes.

In total, 10 Gators filled a box in the official scorebook.

"It was a good experience for us," SC head coach Taylor Jones said of the evening. "We were trying to keep the tempo up, but then we got in foul trouble... overall, I thought our guys did a great job."

Especially Bynum, whose smooth, always-on-time effort was complemented by senior Najee Young's 14 points. Jamerion Dawson added 11, and junior forward Tahj Edwards contributed five points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

Princeton (11-15) was paced by Gibson, Jr., who led all scoring with 20 points. McPhatter contributed 15 -- including 11 in the final stanza -- while Austin Sullivan and Ryan Woodard collected seven apiece.

Spring Creek now sets its sights on the final -- a contest versus a familiar foe that is scheduled to jump in traditional, quick-turnaround postseason fashion.

But no worries, offered its head coach.

"If you can't get up for a Friday night championship game, you don't deserve to be playing," Jones said.

Tip-off is 7:30 p.m. at North Duplin High School.