Eagles earn first victory
Western Harnett earned its first win of the season in its first-ever Two Rivers Conference game, with a 54-48 road victory over winless Corinth Holders (0-8), Friday night.
The win snapped a 12-game losing streak for the Eagles (1-6, 1-0), dating back to a win over Union Pines on Jan 11. It also snapped an eight-game road losing streak, dating back to Dec. 6, 2012, at Lee County.
Jonathan Buie led Western Harnett with 20 points on 8-of-16 shooting. Buie scored the first seven points of the game. Buie got Western Harnett started with a three-pointer, and two steals and layups off of Corinth Holders inbounds passes.
Buie scored nine of Western Harnett’s 11 points in the quarter, and he had 13 of its 24 first-half points.
The Pirates shot just 3 of 14 in the first quarter, but a three-pointer by Butler Collins with 30 seconds left cut the margin to four at 11-7. Corinth extended the run to 7-0 in the second quarter, tying the game at 11.
Western Harnett made four straight shots to pull ahead. Chris Johnson scored five of his six points on the game during that stretch, and Buie’s layup at the halftime buzzer gave the Eagles a 24-18 lead.
Corinth Holders’ defense again gave Western Harnett fits coming out of the break. The Eagles missed their first six shots of the second half and hit just 3 of 15 in the third quarter. Corinth only shot 3 of 9, however, and cut just two points into the Eagle lead.
Jalen Branch scored eight of his 14 points in the fourth quarter to keep the Eagles on top. Branch used a variety of twisting post moves to score from all angles, often after grabbing an offensive rebound. William Carter also did damage on the inside for Western Harnett, scoring seven of his nine points in the final quarter, on putbacks and power moves.
Western Harnett also got a welcome boost from its bench late in the game. With 5:31 remaining and the Eagles clinging to a six-point lead, starting point guard Raekwon Rozier went down with a right-leg injury. Rozier had waged an epic battle against Corinth point guard Jake Altman for much of the night, but he left the game to get attention from the team’s medical staff.
Backup point Richard Rozier entered the game for the first time, and he passed to Buie for a layup on his first play of the night. A short time later, he found Branch for a short shot. Richard Rozier’s two assists in just over a minute built the Eagles’ lead to nine, and Raekwon reentered the game for the final four minutes.
Dymon Walker led Corinth Holders with 13 points. Collins and Jaylyn Neal added 11 each.
Western Harnett travels to Harnett Central on Monday. After a two-week break, Corinth Holders will attempt to break through with its first win against East Wake in the Corinth Holders Holiday Tournament.