Lawrence tops Hatteras

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 21, 2006

MERRY HILL – You’d be hard pressed to call a team that won an underdog in the rematch.

That’s exactly where Lawrence Academy found themselves Tuesday night, however, as the Warriors met Cape Hatteras for the second time in five days, but did so without second-leading scorer Michael Cseko.

“I was very concerned without Michael because he’s a good portion of our offense,” first-year Lawrence coach Tommy Tripp said. “I think Chad Oliver played an outstanding game in his absence. He helped on the boards and also got some key baskets.”

With Oliver in for Cseko and Judd Whitehead and Alex Hodges providing a good portion of the Lawrence offense, the Warriors defeated the 1-A public school Hurricanes 59-49.

The Warriors struggled in the first quarter without Cseko and Whitehead in the starting rotation.

When Whitehead got into the game, he hit the second of back-to-back baskets (Marshall Ellis scored the first) to give the Warriors an 8-4 advantage.

The Hurricanes stormed back getting a Bryant Balance hoop and Christian Stowe three-pointer to grab a 9-8 lead. They pushed that advantage to three (15-12) on a T.C. Gray hoop late in the quarter.

The second period was entirely different, however, as Ellis, Hodges and Gray Harrell scored in the opening minute of the period to start an 11-0 spurt that pushed Lawrence ahead 23-15. Ellis and Whitehead added the final two buckets on the spurt.

It was near the end of that spurt that Cape Hatteras basketball coach Mickey Irving became enraged over a travel call against his club and was awarded a technical foul. When he continued to vent his displeasure, Irving was ejected, leaving the team in the hands of girl’s basketball coach Earl Fountain.

Fountain quickly got the boys rejuvenated and they rallied to cut the lead to three (27-24) by the end of first half.

Cape Hatteras continued to cut into the lead in the third quarter, eventually tying the game at 32-all on Stowe’s score with 2:02 to play in the quarter.

Whitehead pushed Lawrence back in front with two free throws, but Stowe’s field goal and a free throw from Jeffery Kiefer gave Cape Hatteras a 35-34 lead at the end of three quarters.

Justin Farrow gave the Hurricanes their biggest lead at 38-26 with his three-pointer nearly a minute into the fourth quarter, but the Warriors began to reassert their dominance.

Whitehead and Hodges back-to-back baskets to take the lead and the two scored again after a Kiefer free throw to push the lead to 44-39.

After Gray trimmed the Lawrence lead to three (44-41), the Warriors rolled off seven unanswered to lead 51-41.

Balance tried to get the Hurricanes back in the game, but Whitehead hit back-to-back shots and Ellis hit a free throw to extend the advantage to 57-43.

Kiefer then cut back into the lead with three points, but Jay Spencer hit both ends of a one-plus-one with 39 seconds left to play.

Lawrence (59): Judd Whitehead n 22, Alex Hodges n 14, Marshall Ellis n 11, G. Harrell n 6, C. Oliver n 4, J. Spencer n 2, J. Harrell, B. Maxwell, M. Walker

Cape Hatteras (49): Bryant Balance n 14, Christian Stowe n 10, T. Gray n 9, J. Kiefer n 7, B. Wales n 5, J. Farrow n 4, C. Ramsey