Cougar run drops Lady Jackets
Lee County played well for three quarters of its first home girls basketball game of the season. It was a disastrous first quarter against Apex Tuesday night, with the Lady Cougars pitching a 21-0 shutout in the first period, and scoring the first 25 points unanswered in the first 10:20 of the game, which was far too much to overcome as Apex won 64-43.
Led by a trapping press, Apex (3-1, 1-0) forced the Lady Yellow Jackets (1-1, 0-1) into far more turnovers than shot attempts in the opening minutes. The Lady Cougars led 9-0 at the 5:05 mark and 16-0 with 2:21 left in the first period. Joelle Deese, Emily Sasser and Tiffany Finley scored six points each during Apex's 25-0 start.
Lee County finally got on the board with Sarah VanSteen's steal and breakaway lay-in. While Apex didn't keep its full-court trapping going through most of the last three periods, the Jacket offense got going at a fairly good clip after breaking the ice.
De'ja Bland scored five points, including hitting a three-pointer, as part of Lee County outscoring Apex 15-10 in the last 5:40 of the first half.
Apex opened the second half rebuilding its big lead. The Lady Cougars got the ball inside and Finley made two three-point plays in the low post giving Apex a 41-15 lead.
The Lady Cougars took the third period 20-13. Lee County won the last eight minutes 15-9.
For the last three quarters of the opening Tri-9 Conference game, the Lady Jacket offense played sharper than it did in their opening win at Western Harnett, a 29-27 victory on a winning, last-second basket by Allie Eyers last Friday night. Apex still kept a 17-point margin or more after the opening blitz.
Finley led Apex with 12 points. Sasser and Jess Wight scored nine points each.
Bland led Lee County with 14 points. Olivia Sturdivant had 10 points, seven rebounds and six steals. Eyers scored six points and Meggan Rose added four points.
At Apex, also in the Tri-9 Conference opener for the Cougars and Yellow Jackets, Apex (2-2, 1-0) beat Lee County (1-1, 0-1) 63-53.
The Jackets, also off a buzzer-beating win at Western Harnett, as Dante Graham's basket at the horn gave the Jackets a 54-52 victory, fell behind 29-17 at halftime.
T.J. Evans and Ian Boyd scored 21 points apiece for the Cougars. Six-foot-5 forward Dewaun McEachin led the Yellow Jackets with 27 points. Jason Payne added nine points.
Lee County hosts Western Harnett for rematches this evening. It's a tripleheader of hoops at Lee County with the boys' JV game at 4:30 p.m. followed by the girls' varsity game at 6 p.m. and the boys' varsity game at 7:30 p.m.