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Eagles top LA

MERRY HILL – Northeast Academy overcame a 13-point deficit in the first half and rallied to defeat Lawrence Academy, 50-43 in Tarheel Independent Conference action Tuesday night.

Jeremy Parker led a trio of Eagles (10-7, 5-2,TIC) in double-figures with 18 points while Brandon Futrell had 12 and Hunter Deloatch contributed 10.

Daniel Oliver of Lawrence (11-8, 3-2,TIC) led all scorers with 19 points, including 14 in the first half, while Dylan Ralph had 10.

“They had us on the ropes,” said Northeast coach John Brown, “but we were able to get a little pressure and then really got it going in the second half with some easy baskets and convert some turnovers into easy scores.”

Opening with a balanced attack, Lawrence took a 6-4 lead before Northeast went on a quick 5-0 run thanks to Futrell draining a three-pointer then converting a lay-up off a turnover for a 9-6 Eagles lead and the boys in red up by a pair after the first quarter, 13-11.

Lawrence stormed back to retake the lead in the second quarter as Oliver scored six points in a row. Tying it on a lay-up, 13-13, then getting another bank shot off the glass and sinking a pair of free throws to stake the Warriors to a 17-13 lead. Lawrence continued with a 10-2 assault, working their motion offense to perfection and building a 26-13 lead before Parker, Jeff White and Davis Harrell led a Northeast rally that had the Warriors only ahead by three at halftime, 27-24.

Early in the third quarter with the Warriors ahead by five, 31-26, Oliver went down with a hard spill under the basket and was never quite the same the remainder of the game. The fall seemed to rally the Eagles as Futrell scored on a fast break layup to tie the game at 31-31 with three minutes remaining.

Lawrence held the Eagles at bay on the next play with a Ralph three-point field goal, then he and Oliver collected another field goal apiece to stake the Warriors to a seven-point lead after three quarters, 38-31.

In the final quarter, with both teams fatigued from the hard physical play both on offense and defense, the wear-and-tear seemed to affect the Warriors the most. What were once certain jumpers began to come up short and miss the mark and Northeast rallied to up the tempo of the game with transition baskets.

After a Parker free-throw pulled Northeast within two points at 40-38, Lawrence Coach John Powell switched to a man-to-man defense and Northeast seemed to gain new life. Two more Deloatch free throws tied the game for the final time at 40-40 and then the Eagles began to attack the Warriors in the low post and collect trips to the foul line. The Warriors succumbed to fast break points by the Eagles on turnovers and never could get their post game in gear as the clock wound down.

Northeast outscored Lawrence 10-3 in the final four minutes including making 7-of-8 free throws to post the win, their third against the Warriors this season.

“In the first half we tried to really make them work on defense,” said Brown, “because they were really keeping us from getting good shots, but the more we made them work the better we seemed to get good shots. That seemed to wear them down because they’re not as deep as we are.”

“This was similar to the way the last game was played (in the Nick Brantley Tournament finals)”, he added, “but with not quite as much holding of the ball late, but my guys are really tough to guard in the man-to-man because of our explosiveness.”

“We panicked a little bit in the second half,” said Warriors coach Jon Powell. “We’ve worked on some things we should have done, but didn’t handle it the way we should have. We’ll have to go back to the drawing board. We need for some of our younger players to step up because in games like this our starters need subs.”

Lawrence tries to bounce back against Ridgecroft on Thursday in Ahoskie while Northeast’s road swing continues with a game at Pungo Christian on Friday night.