Jackets cruise through first round

Lee County beats Union Pines 71-35, plays Jordan Fri. night
Dec. 27, 2012 @ 10:40 PM

Lee County's boys basketball squad has made a habit of photo finishes this season. Coming into the start of the Lee County Basketball Shootout Thursday night, the Jackets had four wins in their last five contests, with all four victories by three-point margins or less.
The Jackets (7-3) didn't need any of the drama or nail biting, at least for one night, in a 71-35 rout over Union Pines (3-9).
Senior Jason Payne drained five of Lee County's eight three-pointers on the night and totaled 23 points. The Jackets led 17-7 after a quarter then really turned up the pace and lit up the scoreboard for a 46-14 lead by halftime.
"This is what we've been asking for all season. This is what it can look like when we put it all together," said Lee County head coach Reggie Peace. "Hopefully we can keep it going."
A run-and-gun pace was contagious and most of the Jackets joined in. Point guard Dante Graham keyed the tempo, scoring 13 points and turning steals and assists into easy baskets for teammates. Trevon Watson added nine points and Hunter Jackson had eight points.
"I'm happy for Jason (Payne) and Hunter (Jackson) because they spend the most time in the gym shooting, so to see them knock down shots out there is rewarding," Peace said.
Jeff Thompson, the Viking power forward, led Union Pines with 11 points. Tyler Packer added eight points. Union Pines drops into the consolation bracket for the last two days of the Shootout and will face Western Harnett Friday at 8 p.m.
Even if the Jackets keep their momentum going into Friday night's game, a semifinal against Jordan at 8 p.m., it promises to be another tight battle. Jordan (7-4) beat Western Harnett (1-12) 67-44 earlier Thursday evening. The Falcons are 2-0 in the 4A PAC 6.
"They're long, athletic and well-coached," Peace said of the Falcons. "They've got size and guard who can handle the ball. Hopefully we'll shoot it well tomorrow night."

Lee County Basketball Shootout

First-round games
Northwood 55, Southern Lee 24
Apex 82, Northern Vance 42
Hoke County 54, Lee County 52
Union Pines 41, Chatham Central 38
Piedmont 64, Cary 46
Northwood 51, East Chapel Hill 49
Jordan 67, Western Harnett 44
Lee County 71, Union Pines 35

Friday's schedule
Semifinals (at Main Gym)
Northwood vs. Apex - 2 p.m.
Hoke County vs. Union Pines - 6 p.m.
Consolations (at Packard Gym)
Southern Lee vs. Southern Vance - 2 p.m.
Lee County vs. Chatham Central - 6 p.m.
Semifinals (at Main Gym)
Piedmont vs. Northwood - 4 p.m.
Jordan vs. Lee County - 8 p.m.
Consolations (at Packard Gym)
Cary vs. East Chapel Hill - 4 p.m.
Western Harnett vs. Union Pines - 8 p.m.