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Northeast boys top Rams

LASKER – Northeast Academy put four in double digits Friday.

Those four Eagles n John Pope, Jud Smith, Josh Jenkins and Jeremy Parker n helped lead their team to a 55-43 win over Tarheel Independent Conference rival Ridgecroft.

Northeast jumped out to an early 11-4 lead and never looked back as they went on to lead 15-11 after one quarter and 28-20 at the half.

Jenkins and Pope started the scoring with back-to-back baskets to open the game.

Ridgecroft’s first hoop came from Austin Britton, but Northeast responded with a 7-2 spurt on which Jenkins, Pope and Smith all scored.

Ridgecroft closed within two (11-9) after a free throw from James Taylor and a bucket and a pair of shots from the charity stripe by Hanes Joyner.

Pope, who led all scorers with 18 points, had the next four points to help the Eagles lead 15-11 after the first period.

Jenkins and Parker opened the second quarter with consecutive hoops, but Asher Turner sandwiched two scores around a pair of Brandon Futrell free throws to get Ridgecroft within 21-15.

The lead was still six until Jay Baugham hit a pair of shots from the charity stripe to give the Eagles a 28-20 halftime lead.

The Eagles continued to start quarters well when, to open the third period, they got a pair of hoops from Pope and a free throw to push their advantage to 33-20.

Joyner’s three-pointer got the Rams on the board, but Northeast closed the third quarter with a free throw from Pope and two scores from Parker to lead 39-25.

Smith added to that lead with the first score of the fourth quarter, but Dillon Lowe responded with a three-pointer for the Rams to close the gap to 41-28.

Ridgecroft whittled it down to 48-36, but Northeast went on a 7-0 spurt to take a 55-36 lead.

Lowe hit a triple and Neal Howard scored for the Rams. Lowe then added a pair of free throws to establish the final score.

“We understand they are missing their guard (Josh Morris) and he is a big part of their game,” Northeast Head Coach John Brown said. “I thought our guys did a good job of being patient on offense and taking high percentage shots. We also did a decent job on the boards.”

Brown said he was particularly pleased with his team in the third quarter.

“Josh didn’t play in the third quarter because he had three fouls,” the coach said. “It was good that Judd, Brandon and John did well enough that I didn’t have to bring in Josh and risk him picking up that fourth foul.”

Pope’s 18 points were the most of any player. He was followed by 11 from Smith and 10 each from Jenkins and Parker.

Taylor led the Rams with 10 points.

“It was probably the best game John Pope has ever played for me,” Brown closed.

The Eagles are 5-8 overall and 2-2 in the TIC.

Northeast (55): John Pope n 18, Jud Smith n 11, Josh Jenkins n 10, Jeremy Parker n 10, Brandon Futrell n 2, Hall Edwards n 2, Jay Baugham n 2

Ridgecroft (43): James Taylor n 10, Dillon Lowe n 8, Austin Britton n 8, Hanes Joyner n 7, Asher Turner n 6, Logan Kinlaw n 2, Neal Howard n 2