Jordan wins Lee County tourney title
It's not who starts the game, it's who finishes.
Tournament MVP Josh Thompson was one of multiple Falcons who came off the bench and played key roles leading Jordan (9-4) to a 55-44 win over previously-perfect Piedmont (9-1) and the championship of the Lee County Basketball Shootout Saturday night at Lee County High School.
Thompson, along with fellow reserves Arthur Reese and Tyreek Frye, played most of the fourth quarter for the Falcons. Jordan led most of the second half but couldn't put the Panthers away until the closing seconds.
Thompson and Frye scored 10 points each leading the Falcons. Thompson added five assists. In the middle, senior center Jared Hendryx, a Falcon starter, had nine points, 16 rebounds and five blocks.
Piedmont got out to the early lead as the Falcons relied on, but weren't connecting at all, the three-point shot. The Panthers methodically worked their way to a 13-4 lead through one quarter and it was 15-8 Panthers a few minutes into the second quarter.
The Panther lead could well have been larger but for Hendryx dominating the paint with his board work and long wingspan. Up until facing Hendryx, the Panthers had the clear size advantage in wins over Cary and Northwood.
Jordan found offense around the hoop, whether getting it to Hendryx or with Thompson slashing on drives, and closed the half on a run to take a 21-20 lead.
A back-and-forth third period turned in Jordan's favor with Mike Lee hitting a three-pointer for a 33-30 Jordan lead.
The Falcons moved out to a seven-point edge before the Panthers answered. A fadeaway jumper by Panther center Cameron Tripp made it 44-42 Jordan with a little over four minutes remaining.
Jordan's intense defense took over the rest of the way. Hendryx and Reese, who finished with nine boards, controlled the glass on both ends of the court. Thompson turned two Falcon defensive stops into lightning-quick lay-ups on the other end, one to give Jordan a 46-42 lead and another to make it 50-44 Falcons with 0:58 and counting.
Brady Meggs led the Panthers with 16 points, 12 coming in the second half, and 11 rebounds. Qualen Blakney, who led Piedmont's early success, scored 14 points.
Lee added eight points for the Falcons while K.J. Alston had six points and Reese scored five.
Thompson and Hendryx were the Falcons named to the All-Tournament Team. Meggs and Blakney were named All-Tournament, as were Northwood's Ti Pinnix and Lee County's Jason Payne.