Giving it to the senior
With a state tournament game in the balance, the Cavaliers know right where they wanted the ball to go.
Senior Juwon Jackson got the ball in the low post, spun and hit a short shot while getting fouled for a three-point play putting Southern Lee ahead 48-45 with 0:14 left against Southern Guilford (12-14). The Cavaliers (15-10) dodged one last Storm three-point shot and prevailed 49-45 to advance through the first round of the NCHSAA 3A State Tournament Monday night on Cavalier Court.
The Cavaliers held the edge for most of the second half but Southern Guilford's Jalen Seegars brought the Storm back in a hurry with a deep three-pointer to make it 43-41 Cavs, then a steal and breakaway lay-in to tie the game, 43-43, with 1:50 left.
The Cavs wasted a 1-and-1 at the line, followed by a quick, empty Storm possession.
The Cavs were patient enough this time down the court to find Juwon Jackson inside. A veteran of lots of clutch situations and big baskets, Jackson powered up for a bucket and a 45-43 Cavalier lead with 1:15 left.
On the next Storm possession, a half-court set turned into a loose ball scramble and a two-handed dunk by Jaqwan McCauley.
A five-second call against the Cavs gave the Storm the ball with 0:37 left. Instead of holding for a last shot, Southern Guilford quickly tried to get the ball into the paint. Damian Brown stepped into the passing lane and got the steal for the Cavs.
Without the need of a timeout, the Cavs set up their senior power forward where he likes the ball best and Jackson got the big and-one. Jackson finished with 17 points and nine rebounds.
After a Storm three was off the mark and bounded out of bounds with 0:02 left, Noah Mellette, who got the Cavs off to a good start in the first half, made 1-of-2 at the line with 0:01 left.
Mellette's long-range shooting was the perfect Cavalier answer to Southern Guilford's 2-3 zone in the first half.
It was a slow struggle on both sides in a 9-9 first quarter. The half-court tempo suited the Cavs though and a deep Mellette three put the Cavs up 14-13, then a triple from the right corner by Mellette made it 19-16 Cavs. Mellette had 11 points in the half and Juwon Jackson added eight.
Southern Lee led 27-18 before Stevon Davis made a three-point play at the horn of the half cutting the Cav lead to 27-21.
A 7-0 Storm run, along with switching to a man defense, sliced Southern Lee's lead to 29-28 two minutes into the second half.
Jalen Jackson, with a elbow jumper, then a baseline cut for a backdoor lay-up, scored the next four points. Andrew Carnegie's 17-foot jumper off the dribble in the last couple seconds made it 39-31 Cavs with a quarter to play.
Seegars, a freshman swingman who had two three-pointers and a fast-break dunk, finished with 13 points for the Storm. McCauley had 12 points and eight rebounds.
Mellette finished with 14 points for the Cavs. Jalen Jackson ran the point getting seven points and five assists. Brown and Carnegie added four points each.
The Cavaliers, the No. 6 seed in their part of the 3A bracket, advance to Wednesday's second round, the round of 32, and a date with the winner of Monday night's No. 14 Orange and No. 3 Eastern Alamance game.
More state tournament scores from Monday night
4A - No. 4 Green Hope 61, No. 13 Lee County 44
4A - No. 8 Middle Creek 60, No. 9 Pinecrest 54
2A - No. 8 Northwood 72, No. 9 Warren County 56
2A - No. 5 Cummings 59, No. 12 Jordan-Matthews 41
1A - No. 1 Winston-Salem Prep 100, No. 16 Chatham Central 37
1A - No. 9 North Moore 74, No. 8 Central Academy 65 - OT
3A - No. 2 Triton 54, No. 15 Northern Nash 52
3A - No. 9 Morehead 66, No. 8 Overhills 52
3A - No. 7 Triton 46, No. 10 Southern Lee 26
3A - No. 3 Overhills 46, No. 14 Union Pines 29
1A - No. 4 Bishop McGuinness 59, No. 13 Chatham Central 21
1A - No. 3 Lake Norman Charter 76, No. 14 North Moore 44
2A - No. 2 Northwood 55, No. 15 Greene Central 27
2A - No. 5 Jordan-Matthews 83, No. 12 Clinton 53
4A - No. 9 Apex 50, No. 8 Pinecrest 42
4A - No. 9 Harnett Central 61, No. 8 East Wake 58
Second round games on Wednesday
3A - No. 6 Southern Lee at No. 3 Eastern Alamance - 8 p.m.
3A - No. 7 Havelock at No. 2 Triton - 7 p.m.
2A - No. 8 Northwood at No. 1 Kinston - 8 p.m.
1A - No. 9 North Moore at No. 1 Winston-Salem Prep - 8 p.m.
2A - No. 13 Cummings at No. 5 Jordan-Matthews - 7 p.m.
2A - No. 7 Cedar Ridge at No. 2 Northwood - 7 p.m.
3A - No. 11 Southern Guilford at No. 3 Overhills - 7 p.m.
3A - No. 7 Triton at No. 2 Chapel Hill - 6:30 p.m.
4A - No. 9 Harnett Central at No. 1 Southeast Raleigh - 7 p.m.