Harnett Central won a Tri-County Six 3-A Conference varsity boys basketball thriller Monday, edging county rival Western Harnett 67-66 on a three-pointer from Kasey Perkins with 7.4 seconds left.
“I give our guys a ton of credit,” said Central boys coach Will Gage. “We played a horrible second half against Southern Lee the other day and we spoke about that the other day to not dwell on that and that was not indicative of our season. We needed to bounce back big time. We came out and played pretty smart and pretty hard from the get-go. We had a lead and they would cut into it and then when they went up by two and, I think, one time up by three, we held our composure and battled back.”
“I thought our defensive focus shifted at the end of the game,” said Western boys coach Seth Womble. “We were more intense. We were doing better on their ball screens. Helping and switching, whatever we had to do. We were talking and communicating. If we’d have played like that early, it probably wouldn’t have ended like that. I was proud of the way the guys fought. They fought last game. They fought this game. It was a great game.”
Kasey Perkins had 18 points, Chase Mullins had 13 points and Kaizer Ray had 11 points to lead the Trojans (12-8, 4-4 TCSC).
Adonye Fubar had nine points and Jalaan Signal and Justin Perkins had eight points apiece.
“I thought different people stepped up at different times,” Gage said. “We stress that we’ve got some depth and it’s got to be quality depth. We’ve got to have contributions from a bunch of people. I thought that was a big factor tonight.”
Darnell Carver had 22 points, Tre’ Richardson had 17 and Anthony Brewington had 15 to pace the Eagles (9-10, 3-5).
Jamar Butler had five points, Samuel Tolbert had three and Tobias Dillard and Caleb Smith had two points apiece.
Late in the back-and-forth contest, Richardson gave the Eagles a 65-64 lead with a three-pointer and Brewington added to the lead with a free throw.
With 7.4 seconds left, Kasey Perkins pulled up for a three-pointer, that easily swished through the net and the Trojans called timeout to set up their defense.
“We were a little late on a ball screen hedge and he got an open shot,” Womble said. “And it just went in. He made a big shot.”
With the Eagles looking to answer on the other end, Justin Perkins stole the ball with 1.4 seconds left to seal the win.
Central rallies in girls game
Western gave a strong effort in the girls game, but a solid second quarter powered league-leading Central to a 51-39 win.
“We’re just struggling with consistency right now,” said Central girls coach Chelsey Cabe. “We look good in stretches and then we look like you wouldn’t think we’re at where we’re at right now. Thankfully, we shot well from the outside. That really kept us up. Defensively, we’re not talking like I want us to. We were flat-footed.
The last three games, we’ve come out in the first quarter and dug ourselves a hole. Eventually that catches up. We’ve got to get back to doing the basics. It’s the small things.”
“The girls came out and worked hard,” said Western girls coach Hallie Hales. “We’re not the strongest offensively. It’s always been our defense that gets us a long way. But, I’m impressed with how they did. It’s a big improvement over the past few years, offensively.”
Maliah Banks had 22 points, six assists and seven steals and Michaela Cabe had 16 points to lead the Trojans (18-2, 8-0).
“Michaela hit a lot of big shots tonight,” coach Cabe said. “And Maliah is consistent offensively and defensively.”
Syniah McMiller had eight points, 12 rebounds and four blocks. Marcayla Jones and Lyndsey Brewer had two points apiece. Jordyn Johnson-McLean had one point and eight rebounds.
Lahaina “LaLa” Bell led the Eagles (5-14, 2-6) with 27 points.
Kasey Genthe had eight points and Layne Randolph and Taija Pruitt had two points apiece.
Western opened the game on a 14-5 run, but Central responded with a 12-2 run to take a 17-16 lead at the end of the quarter.
Central dominated the second quarter, outscoring Western 18-3 and never allowed the Eagles to come within less than nine the rest of the way.
“We let up a little bit and then couldn’t recover from that,” Hales said.
Harnett Central is at home against Triton on Wednesday night. The girls team can clinch at least a share of the conference title with a win. Western Harnett is at home against Lee County on Wednesday night.