After a sluggish start, a dominant performance in the second and third quarters powered Harnett Central to a 61-41 win over Western Harnett in the boys consolation game of the Harnett County Tipoff Tournament at Gore Arena inside the John W. Pope Convocation Center at Campbell on Monday evening.
“It would be an understatement to say it was a slow start,” said Harnett Central coach Will Gage. “Consequently, we struggled defensively, as well. I thought that once we started playing well offensively, I thought the defense keyed that. The second quarter we did a great job defensively and I thought that kind of spurred our offense on. We continued that into the third quarter. I thought our intensity was good then. Then the first part of the fourth quarter, we didn’t look as sharp.”
Senior All-Tournament selection Kasey Perkins had 14 points and six assists and junior Anthony Tomlinson had 11 points to lead the Trojans (1-1).
Trevonne Williams had nine points. Croix Shipman had eight points. Justin Perkins had seven points. Chase Mullins had six points and seven rebounds. Jaden Meadows had three points. Kaleb Darden had two points. Austin Swan had one point.
“We’re going to have to get input from a lot of people,” Gage said. “Simply having people that can play doesn’t give you depth. Are they going to step up offensively and defensively when they get in there? I thought our guys did that tonight. They did a good job looking for each other.”
The Eagles (0-2) were led by junior Deamonte Rankin, with nine points.
All-Tournament selection Tre’ Richardson had six points. Tobias Dillard had five points. Travon Richardson, Kahlil McLean and Anthony Brewington had four points apiece. Eric Bradshaw had three points. Tyrese Jones and Caleb Smith had two points apiece. Tay Davis and Deric Harper had one point apiece.
Western Harnett went on a 10-3 run to lead at the end of the first quarter.
But Central rallied, going on a 22-4 run through the second quarter and a 24-7 run through the third to take full control of the contest.
Early in the second quarter, Central lost junior Tylor Davis, the Trojans’ leading scorer in their opener against Overhills last Monday, to an eye injury.
Western outscored Central 20-12 in the fourth, but it was too little, too late.
Both teams have a quick turnaround as Harnett Central travels to Cleveland for the Rams’ season opener and Western Harnett is at South Johnston (1-0) on Tuesday.
“Hopefully one of the things we will not have to deal with is fatigue, because we played a lot of people tonight,” Gage said. “I’m hoping that will pay off tomorrow night. We can’t rest on our laurels. You can’t just win one game and it’s over. You’ve got to keep building on it. You don’t want to be playing your best basketball in November, but you do want to be playing well.”