Edwards leads NEA to championship

Published 10:48 am Tuesday, December 16, 2008

AHOSKIE – Led by tournament MVP Betty Edwards Northeast Academy claimed their first championship at the Lt. Nick Brantley Scholarship Tournament Friday.

Edwards poured in 17 points in Friday night’s 46-34 victory over Pungo Christian Academy to lead all scorers. Jennifer Sykes followed with 10 points and Callie Burgess added nine.

Burgess was named to the All-Tournament Team as well as Tess Smithwick and Brinkley Johnson from the Lady Raiders.

“It’s an honor just to play in a tournament that honors such a fine young man,” said Northeast Head Coach Joella Brown. “I’m really proud of the girls. They worked hard and stayed focused.”

The game’s outcome wasn’t in doubt after Northeast scored the final six points of the first quarter to take an 11-5 lead.

“We knew we had to keep pressure on the ball,” explained Brown. “We knew we had to stop Brinkley (Johnson) and Tess (Smithwick) and tried to keep someone fresh on them. Then Jordan (Dunbar) started hitting from the outside and we had to put someone on her.”

Jordan Dunbar scored a hoop for the Lady Raiders at the start of the second quarter. A deuce by Lacy Pfieffer and an Edwards three-pointer kept Northeast out front by nine. Kim Clayton sank the front end of her foul shots, but again Northeast answered Pungo’s score.

This time Sykes scored the bucket and Edwards added another shot from beyond the arc. A trey from Dunbar and basket by Johnson pulled Pungo back within eight (21-13). Baskets by Molly Hargrave, Burgess and Pfieffer stretched that lead to double digits. Clayton went one-of-two from the line, cutting the lead to 13 (27-14) at the half.

Both teams scored eight points in the third as Northeast maintained their 13-point lead.

Burgess hit four foul shots for the Lady Eagles to start the fourth quarter. Pungo pulled within seven after treys from Johnson and Dunbar and a Smithwick bucket. Northeast stretched their lead back to 12 after buckets by Edwards and Sykes and an Edwards free throw.

The Lady Raiders cut it to eight when Clayton scored a free throw and Jodi Rose sank a three-pointer with just over a minute remaining. Another Sykes bucket and two Leann Barnes foul shots sealed the win for Northeast, 46-34.

Pungo was led by Dunbar with 13 points. Johnson scored 10 for the Lady Raiders in the loss.