Northwood tops Jackets for third place

Dec. 29, 2012 @ 10:08 PM

Northwood raced out to a big lead on host Lee County, then milked the clock most of the second half to prevail, 45-38, over the Yellow Jackets in the third-place game of the Lee County Basketball Shootout Saturday afternoon.

The Chargers (5-5) scored the first eight points of the game and led wire to wire.

Northwood's athletic trio of Aumad Walker, Charles Hope and Ti Pinnix set the tone of both ends of the court, with Hope scoring four of the first eight points and the Charger defense allowing nothing easy for Lee County (7-5).

The Yellow Jackets chipped their way back into the game through the middle part of the opening half, getting to within 13-8 at the end of a period and within a bucket early in the second quarter.

Northwood showed patience and solid execution against Lee County's packed-in zone during the first half. A couple three-pointers by Walker helped as well and the Chargers held a 24-15 edge at halftime.

The Charger lead forced the Jackets out of the zone after halftime. Even against man defense, though, the Chargers controlled the ball and the clock for as long as they chose to on most of their second-half possessions.

Walker's third triple of the game got the Chargers off to a good start in the third quarter. A fast-break lay-in by Pinnix made it a 9-2 start to the half. Monte Smith's driving basket off the glass made it a 16-2 Charger streak for the first seven-plus minutes of the quarter. Northwood led 40-20 entering the fourth quarter.

With some better shooting finally, and taking advantage of a couple of stretches with second- and third-string Chargers on the floor, the Yellow Jackets cut into the lead in the final eight minutes.

Hunter Jackson's deep three-pointer made it 43-36 Northwood with 0:26 left. The Jackets got the lead down to five with 0:12 left but couldn't get closer.

Jason Payne led the Yellow Jackets with 14 points and five rebounds. Jackson added 11 points and Tre Wells had eight points.

Lee County played without starting post player Dewaun McEachin, who scored 24 points Friday night in a 52-50 loss to Jordan, and starting guard Trevon Watson, who's been out the last three games with an injury.

Pinnix paced Northwood with 13 points. It was a balanced Charger offense with Walker scoring 11, Hope scoring nine to go with six boards and Kadarus Rone adding seven points.

Northwood moves back into Carolina 12 play this coming week, hosting Cedar Ridge on Friday night.

Lee County hosts a Tri-Nine contest Friday night against Green Hope.