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Lawrence edges Northeast

MERRY HILL – Two evenly matched teams locked in battle Thursday night.

The varsity boys’ basketball teams from Lawrence Academy and Northeast Academy did battle for 32 minutes with the home-standing Warriors coming away with a hard-fought 73-65 victory.

“Both teams shot 16 free throws,” Lawrence Head Coach Tommy Tripp said. “We made 14-of-16 and they made 7-of-16 and that was basically the difference in the game.

“We’re two pretty evenly matched teams,” Tripp added. “It was good to be able to win at home.”

Lawrence held a comfortable lead through much of the basketball game, but Northeast rallied midway through the fourth quarter to make it an interesting contest.

With Lawrence holding a 59-48 lead after a Daniel Oliver bucket with 4:31 to play, Northeast mounted a comeback effort.

The 9-0 spurt was sparked by John Pope, who had a triple and then scored three the old-fashioned way with a hoop and a free throw.

Pope scored again with 2:55 to play and then Jeremy Parker hit 1-of-2 from the free throw line to pull the Eagles within two points (59-57) with 2:38 left on the clock.

The Warriors regained their composure and scored on a Shane Stevens bucket and then a Northeast turnover led to a Daniel Oliver lay-up as they pulled out to a 63-57 lead with just over two minutes remaining.

The Eagles didn’t surrender, however, as Pope again scored from the floor and converted the ensuing free throw to narrow the gap to 63-60.

Chad Oliver scored for the Warriors with just over one minute to play, but Northeast got a free throw from Pope and then Josh Jenkins intercepted the inbounds pass and laid the ball in to trim the deficit to 65-63.

The Warriors sealed their win when Joe Harrell converted both ends of a 1-plus-1 opportunity on successive trips down court and Chad Oliver did the same. Daniel Oliver also hit two free throws to seal the Warriors’ win.

“The free throw line really hurt us,” Northeast Head Coach John Brown said. “If we shoot 14-of-16 from the line, it wouldn’t have been necessary for us to put them on the line at the end of the game.

“During that late run, we were attacking the basket better and got some easy shots,” he added. “The other thing that killed us, however, was rebounding. We gave up too many second, third and fourth shots.”

The first quarter was a topsy-turvy affair with seven lead changes between the two teams.

Jenkins highlighted the quarter for the Eagles by driving the lane and scoring three times in the early going. Harrell and Holden Ratzlaff answered for the Warriors with a three-pointer each.

From there, the game settled with both teams getting scoring from a variety of players. The Warriors ended the quarter with a one-point lead (14-13) after R.J. Deppisch hit back-to-back shots to close the period.

Parker helped Northeast surge back ahead as the second quarter started, but Lawrence got consecutive hoops from Harrell, Daniel Oliver and Ratzlaff to take a 20-15 advantage.

The Warriors kept that working margin for most of the quarter, eventually taking a 31-27 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Lawrence opened the third quarter with a 8-2 run that helped them push their lead to double figures (39-29) at the 5:47 mark of the quarter. Ratzlaff was the leading scorer during the spurt with four points while Deppisch and Oliver accounted for the other four points.

From there, the Warriors kept an 8- to 12-point margin and led 51-41 at the end of the quarter.

Lawrence (73): Daniel Oliver n 18, Holden Ratzlaff n 15, Joe Harrell n 14, Shane Stevens n 9, R.J. Deppisch n 9, Chad Oliver – 8

Northeast (65): Jud Smith n 14, John Pope n 13, Josh Jenkins n 12, Jeremy Parker n 11, Jay Baugham n 9, Brandon Futrell – 6