Quick start sparks Northeast boys

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 3, 2005

LASKER – The outcome wasn’t in doubt.

Actually, maybe it was.

Despite Northeast Academy’s varsity boys holding a double-digit lead from the first to the fourth quarter, two people in the building weren’t sure the outcome was certain. Those two people were NEA skipper John Brown and Ridgecroft first-year coach Elton Winslow.

In the end, the Eagles kept that lead and held off several challenges to knock off Ridgecroft by a final count of 72-59 here Tuesday night.

&uot;They kept coming back,&uot; Brown said. &uot;We were up by 20 points and then they would chip it back down. The way they are able to shoot three’s, I didn’t think the game was over. They just don’t go away.&uot;

For his part, Winslow credited the Eagles with sustaining every attempt Ridgecroft made to get back into the game.

&uot;We held our own in the second half, but we just dug ourselves too big a hole,&uot; Winslow said. &uot;We kept cutting it to 11 or 12 and then they would hit a little spurt. Then we’d have to work it down again.&uot;

The reason for the working margin for Northeast was a 20-6 run to open the game. The Eagles came out on fire, running off 11 unanswered at one point in grabbing the advantage.

&uot;We wanted to come out fast,&uot; Brown said. &uot;The last few games we’ve been slow out of the gate and we wanted to avoid that tonight. I thought my guys came out focused and ready to play.&uot;

The Rams, however, didn’t come out with that energy, according to Winslow.

&uot;We had a complete lack of energy in the first half,&uot; the coach said. &uot;They got every loose ball, every offensive rebound. They were on the floor after the balls and we weren’t. We dug a big hole for ourselves while they were ready to go.&uot;

Lance Jenkins had the bucket that started the big spurt for Northeast in the first quarter. His shot was followed a trey from Buddy Duke and a field goal off the hands of Brian McLean.

Duke, Rich Edwards, Jenkins and Barry Barrett rolled off consecutive buckets to give Northeast a 13-2 lead.

Consecutive hoops from Ridgecroft’s Wes Ward and Drew Jones trimmed the advantage to 13-6, but Edwards buried a triple followed by back-to-back hoops by McLean and Duke to give Northeast a 20-6 lead.

The lead ballooned to 28-8 when Northeast scored the first six points of the second quarter, but an 8-0 spurt by the Rams chipped into the lead. Chris Hill buried a trey followed by a bucket and free throw by Ward and a hoop from Bryan Britton to cut the advantage to 28-16.

The Eagles controlled the rest of the quarter, grabbing a 38-24 lead at the intermission.

Ridgecroft whittled the lead to 11 (42-31) after hoops by Chris Mizelle and Ward in the third quarter, but got no closer as Northeast used a nine-point run in the third to push the lead back to 21 (54-33).

Ward hit a bucket and a triple to end the quarter with the Rams behind by a count of 54-38.

Ridgecroft got the score to within 12 or less three times in the fourth period, but couldn’t get the lead below 10 points.

Northeast got a 24-point effort from Duke along with 17 from McLean and 14 from Edwards. The Rams were led by Ward’s 24 points and Hill’s 11.

The win pushed Northeast to 14-2 on the season and 8-1 inside the TIC. That record is good enough for a first-place tie with Terra Ceia Christian School, the team the Eagles will host Friday evening.

The Rams, meanwhile, will play host to Hobgood Academy on Senior Night Friday evening.

(Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald Sports Writer Jennipher Dickens contributed to this story.)

Northeast (72): Buddy Duke – 24, Brian McLean – 17, Rich Edwards – 14, T. Davis – 2, B. Barrett – 1

Ridgecroft (59): Wes Ward – 24, Chris Hill – 11, Chris Mizelle – 10, B. Britton – 8, D. Jones – 6