Just enough for the Jackets
Lee County needed a three-pointer by Trevon Watson and Dewaun McEachin's rebound and jump hook to pull out a 56-55 comeback win over visiting Cary (1-10, 1-4) Tuesday night.
The Jackets survived giving up a sizable lead in the first half, a 15-0 Cary run in the third quarter and making only 8-of-20 (40 percent) of their free throws.
No matter how the Jackets got the win though, it puts Lee County (5-3 overall) with a 3-1 Tri-Nine mark, equaling the league win total the Jackets got last season.
Watson buried a right-wing three-pointer for his only points of the night, giving the Jackets a 54-53 lead with 1:19 left. After the Jackets held the Imps, the Jackets milked the clock down to 16.9 seconds left.
More missed free throws didn't hurt the Jackets. Instead, McEachin went high for the rebound, then again for a bucket.
The Imps had a chance to tie but Cory Gensler's three-point shot was off and Donte Robinson's tip-in came with 0.8 seconds left. After a timeout, the Jackets were able to get the ball inbounds to Namique Farrow and one dribble later the one-point margin was safe.
Lee County tried shaking the Imps early. Tim Jackson hit two threes leading the Jackets out to a 9-5 lead.
A three by Farrow in the closing seconds of the first quarter gave the Jackets a 14-12 lead. The Jackets kept going to a 21-12 lead.
The Jacket shooting went cold for the last five minutes of the half and Lee County led 25-21 at the half.
The Imps had Lee's lead down to 27-25 before six straight Jacket points, with two buckets inside from McEachin included. McEachin had three points in the first half and 17 after halftime.
Cary answered the Jacket run in a hurry. Gensler hit back-to-back threes putting the Imps ahead 35-33 and a three by Maurtez Sneed made it 40-33 Cary. The Imps led 40-36 going to the fourth, then 52-45 with 4:52 remaining after C.J. Lyon's three-point play. Lyon's lay-up was Cary's last field goal for 4:51.
Still, the Jacket comeback wasn't easy. McEachin led the effort in the paint. He rebounded his own missed jump shot and scored at the rim for his third straight hoop, bringing Lee County within 52-51.
After a 1-for-2 Imp trip to the line, Watson hit the big shot to put the Jackets in front with 1:19 left.
McEachin finished with 20 points and nine boards. Farrow had 12 points. Dante Graham scored nine of his 11 points in the second half and added six assists.
Lyon led Cary with 16 points and five assists. Robinson had 14 points and eight rebounds. Gensler had 13 points. While the Jackets struggled at the line, so did the Imps as they made 7-of-15 foul shots.
Lee County faces a major step up the Tri-Nine ladder Thursday night, traveling to Panther Creek (4-3, 4-0 - before Tuesday night) for a 7 p.m. tip.