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Northeast survives LA

MERRY HILL – They just wouldn’t go away.

Despite being overmatched and outmanned, the Lawrence Academy varsity boys kept taking the best barrages Northeast Academy had to offer and coming back strong.

In the end, Eagle senior Brian McLean was finally able to deliver the knockout punch as he scored five consecutive points to propel Northeast to a 72-64 win.

&uot;I have mixed emotions,&uot; Lawrence coach Robert Kravitz said. &uot;This is one of the best games we played all year, but we would certainly liked to have won it.

&uot;We turned the ball over too much again, which comes from having inexperienced guards,&uot; he added. &uot;They have to step up if we are going to be successful.&uot;

One player that did step it up for the Warriors was Judd Whitehead who had 39 points and almost single-handedly kept the Warriors in the game at times.

The game was a tough battle throughout.

Northeast took an early 7-2 lead thanks to hoops by McLean, Buddy Duke and John Pope, but the Warriors roared back.

Frank Baker’s bucket with 3:59 to play in the quarter was followed by a three from Whitehead and a Marshall Ellis free throw that pushed the Warriors ahead 8-7.

After NEA tied it up, Ellis hit a hoop late in the quarter to give Lawrence an 11-9 advantage.

That two-point advantage remained at the half.

Lawrence trialed 17-16 when a foul was called and Kravitz was whistled for a technical foul. The ensuing free throws put Northeast ahead 20-17, but Lawrence seemed to get energy from their coach as they rolled off 10 consecutive points to surge ahead.

A pair of Whitehead free throws were followed by scores from Baker, Ellis and Whitehead to give Lawrence a 26-20 lead.

Northeast responded with a five-point spurt to cut it to 26-25 before Lawrence went back ahead 29-27 at the intermission.

After the Warriors extended their advantage to 31-27, Northeast responded with 8-0 spurt. Pope had four points during that stretch, which helped the Eagles to a 35-31 lead.

The two teams exchanged short spurts until the Northeast led 41-36.

The Eagles then put together a five-point run to go ahead 46-36 thanks to three points from McLean.

Lawrence got back to within six (48-42) by the end of the third quarter when Whitehead buried a three-pointer with 20 seconds in the period.

The teams exchanged hoops with Northeast leading 56-49 with 6:25 to play, but the Warriors still weren’t finished.

Whitehead hit three free throws and buried a trey to cut the advantage to 56-55 with 4:41 to play in the contest.

After an exchange of field goals Duke hit both ends of a 1-plus-1, but Jobie Thomas responded with a triple that deadlocked the score at 60-all with 3:10 to ply.

Free throws and a Brodie Harrell hoop helped Northeast creep ahead 66-60, but Whitehead buried two shots from the charity stripe with 1:40 to play that made it 66-62. The senior went back to the line on successive trips down the floor and made 2-of-4 to trim the NEA lead to 66-64.

That’s when McLean took over, hitting two shots from the free throw line and hitting basket with 33 seconds left to make it 69-64.

A trio of late free throws by McLean and Pope secured the win.

Foul trouble was an issue for both clubs. In all, each team had two foul out with Lawrence losing Whitehead and Ellis while Northeast lost Duke and Drew Pinnix.

&uot;I thought we played much better in the second half,&uot; Northeast skipper John Brown said. &uot;We were in major foul trouble and had to play players more than they are used to.

Brodie did a great job, rebounded well, got baskets and did what we needed,&uot; he added. &uot;Jeremy Canady got a few key steals and did a good job on Whitehead when we moved him over.&uot;

Brown said the Warriors just kept coming back and said he was impressed with their outside shooting.

Kravitz said he was proud of Whitehead’s performance, but insisted his club couldn’t become one-dimensional.

Northeast (72): Buddy Duke – 25, Brian McLean – 22, Ryan Davis – 10, B. Harrell – 8, J. Jenkins – 3, J. Pope – 2, D. Pinnix – 2

Lawrence (64): Judd Whitehead – 39, G. Harrell – 8, M. Ellis – 8, J. Thomas – 5, F. Baker – 4