Jackets clamp down on Western Harnett for 50-30 win
Lee County's defense troubled Western Harnett all night as the Yellow Jackets and Eagles met in the season-opener for both Tuesday night. The Jackets, already with a comfortable lead at halftime, put the game out of reach by holding the Eagles to two points in the third quarter and went on to a 50-30 win.
The Jackets and Eagles traded short runs in the early going. In a fast-paced, but sloppy, first few minutes, the Jackets beat the Eagle full-court pressing with Dewaun McEachin throwing down a jam on a break, then Erick Hodge getting a lay-up for a 7-4 Jacket lead.
Eagle forward Jonathan Buie grabbed a rebound and drove coast-to-coast for a lay-up, then after getting a blocked shot, he scored at the other end putting Western Harnett up 8-7.
McEachin had six points, all inside, in the first quarter. Tre'von Watson added six points, on two three-pointers, in the period and Lee County led 18-10.
The Jackets, mainly Watson and Hunter Jackson at the guard spots, kept looking for McEachin around the hoop and he finished with 22 points.
Defensively, the Jackets forced 24 Western Harnett turnovers. The Jackets squandered a few of the easy fast-break chances, and lost 16 turnovers themselves, but it was more than enough for the first night of the season.
Lee County led 32-17 at halftime and won the third quarter 12-2. Jackson finished with 10 points, seven rebounds, six assists and five steals. Watson had 10 points, five steals and four assists.
Buie led the Eagles with 12 points and eight rebounds.
Western Harnett enters the season, and enters its first year in the Two Rivers Conference, trying to improve a 2-22 mark last season.
Lee County had an improved season in 2012-13, its last in 4A and the Tri-Nine, up to a 13-13 record, 9-7 in conference, and reaching the first round of the state tournament. The Yellow Jackets are now in the Cape Fear Valley, Western Harnett's previous home.
The Eagles will play at county-rival Overhills at 8 p.m. Friday. The Yellow Jackets hit the road again Friday night, for an 8:30 p.m. tip against former Tri-Nine mate Athens Drive.