Westover stops Yellow Jackets again
For the second time in four nights and third time this boys basketball season, Westover's intense defense took Lee County out of its game, this time Thursday night in the semifinals of the Cape Fear Valley Conference Tournament as the No. 2-seeded Wolverines beat the No. 3 Yellow Jackets 51-38.
The Wolverines (18-7) have handed the Yellow Jackets (19-6) half their losses this season, twice holding Lee County to less than 40 points. Westover will meet No. 1 Terry Sanford, a 49-47 victor over No. 4 Southern Lee in Thursday's second semifinal, in the tourney final at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Lee County's next game will be Monday in the first round of the NCHSAA 3A State Tournament.
After an encouraging first few possessions for the Yellow Jackets, Westover's man-to-man pressure began taking a toll and good Jacket shots, then making the few open looks they got, were few and far between.
Westover's Alphonzo Josey drained threes for the first two Wolverine baskets of the game while Lee County's Dewaun McEachin threw down two slams. A hoop in the paint by Keaun Toler made it 6-6 and Lee County edged ahead, 9-8, by the end of the first quarter.
Lee County trailed 21-17 at halftime and got the first two hoops of the second half, a fast-break lay-up by Hunter Jackson and an inbounds lob for a tip-in basket by McEachin.
Josey, with two of his five three-pointers on the night, put the Wolverines ahead 24-21, then hit again for a 28-21 advantage. Westover then ended the quarter with seven points in a row making it 35-24. Westover stretched its lead to 39-25 with about six minutes remaining.
The Yellow Jackets managed getting only within 10 the rest of the way. The Wolverines successfully turned in a number of long possessions, then Josey canned 6 of 8 free throws down the stretch.
Josey finished with 21 points while point guard Eddie Jackson added 12 points and keyed much of the Wolverine defensive effort. Westover had a 19-11 edge in turnovers.
McEachin led the Yellow Jackets with 14 points, seven in each half, and nine rebounds. Jackson had nine points. Toler and Trevon Watson scored five points each.
Lee County and the rest of the NCHSAA schools will learn the state tournament brackets on Saturday. The first three rounds of states are set for Monday, Wednesday and Friday.