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Burgess leads NA

MERRY HILL – Northeast Academy sprinted out to an early lead then coasted to their eleventh win of the season as they topped Lawrence Academy Tuesday night, 54-39.

Callie Burgess led the Lady Eagles (11-4, 5-2, TIC) with 24 points, 16 coming in the first quarter as NEA upped its record in the Tarheel Independent Conference to 5-2.

Betty Edwards added 13, including hitting 7-of-8 foul shots, while Jennifer Sykes had nine.

Casey Belch led the Lady Warriors (7-11, 0-6,TIC) with 11 while Jennifer White had nine.

“Getting off to a quick start, a good start, was important,” said Northeast coach Joella Brown, “because the girls get fired up and they feed off each other so that was really important just trying to get going quick with the tempo.”

Burgess was a big part of that hot start scoring NEA’s first 18 points despite being double and sometimes triple-teamed in the low post.

“She really put on a show,” added Brown, “complimenting her teammates for getting her the passes. She took real good care of the ball and she got on the boards. But so much of that was her teammates getting her the ball and helping box out really made her shine.”

Jennifer Sykes’ late jumper as time expired in the first quarter broke the string for Burgess, but staked NEA to a 20-8 lead after the first eight minutes of play.

Despite a huge rebound margin over their opponents, Lawrence had a poor shooting night and were plagued by turnovers which Northeast converted to easy baskets.

Lawrence was able to get within 11 midway through the second quarter as Ashtyn Mizelle made a pair of free throws to make it 22-11, and the teams played pretty even until the end of the half with the Lay Eagles ahead, 30-16.

In the third quarter Edwards was able to connect over the Lawrence zone with a pair of jumpers as Northeast continued their offensive barrage.

Lawrence coach Jack Williford switched defenses, but miscues continued to plague the Lady Warriors and Northeast took advantage with 10 points off turnovers to lead it 45-22 after three periods of play.

Lawrence tried for a late rally in the fourth quarter thanks to strong offensive rebounding and put-backs, but the huge Northeast lead was too much to overcome as the Lady Eagles took the 15-point win.

“That was about my only disappointment,” said Brown. “We let them get too many second and even third chances late in the game. We’ve got to work on that.”

“I’m not disappointed with the rebounding,” said Lawrence coach Jack Williford, “because 44 rebounds isn’t bad, but turnovers was our Achilles heel and most of that is mental mistakes. Other than that I have to say I’m really proud of the girls.”

Lawrence will try to pick up their first conference win Thursday night on the road at Ridgecroft School.