Jaguars down Hawks in Pollock Memorial finals

by | Nov 23, 2022 | Overhills, Triton

Kevin Lalin scores for the Overhills boys on Tuesday night.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/John Lucas)

Overhills swept varsity basketball contests against Triton in the championship games of the 2022 Bennie Pollock Memorial Harnett County Tipoff tournament hosted by Harnett Central on Tuesday night.

Defense was the key for Overhills as the Jaguars won the girls game, 55-37.

“I really push defense,” said first-year Overhills coach Tierra Kaiser. “We’re a defensive-minded team. As I preach to them on a regular basis, ‘Defense will help us win games. Defense will keep us in games as long as we keep handling our business on the defensive end.’”

Four different Jaguars (2-0) scored in double figures. Junior all-tournament selection Eva McRae had 14 points, senior tournament MVP Precious Harris had 13 points, freshman Nahija Allen had 11 points and freshman Anaiah McGee had 10 points.

“One thing we figured would be the target (for Triton’s defense) would be to shut down our inside (McRae),” Kaiser said. “But we have an outside game, too. And our guards are equally able to score as Eva is.”

Saniya Samule had five points and Natalynn Montague had two points.

Sophomore all-tournament selection JaNiah Smith had 14 points and junior A’Shari Watlington had 10 points to lead the Hawks (1-1).

Mahogany McKoy had six points. Aubree Bass had five points. Nashara Watlington-McNeill had two points.

Overhills outscored Triton 12-7 in the first quarter, 15-6 in the second and 18-12 in the fourth. Triton outscored Overhills 12-10 in the third quarter.

After the game, TaNira Edwards (Harnett Central), Shay McCants (Western Harnett), Abby Hood (Triton), JaNiah Smith (Triton) and Eva McRae (Overhills) were named all-tournament selections. Overhills’ Precious Harris was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

Overhills pulled away in the second half as the Jaguars beat Triton 78-56 in the boys game to win the tournament for the ninth year in a row.

“It’s huge (keeping the streak alive),” said first-year Overhills coach Joe Wylie. “I told them coach (Derrick) Austin, who’s been around Overhills since before it was built, I swear, he said ‘We’ve got eight in a row, no pressure.’ It’s big. Just being able to represent Harnett County is huge. A lot of people don’t know where Harnett County is and don’t know where Overhills is, so we have a saying, ‘Let them know about the O.’ Just coming out and playing ball and showing them what we do in Harnett County is big and good for us, especially getting these early wins.”

Triton coach T.J. Morrison said the Hawks struggled in all areas of the game.

“Just out of sync in just about every facet of the game,” Morrison said. “We didn’t defend well. We couldn’t run offense. Not the same kind of effort we had last night (an 84-37 win over Western Harnett). Obviously, a different team, but we’ve got to be better than that. We’ve got to execute better. We’ve got to defend better. We’ve got to rebound better. We’ve got to do it all better. Not a good night.”

Four seniors led the scoring for the Jaguars (2-0). All-tournament selection Kevin Lalin had 20 points, Isaiah Page had 13 points, Isaiah Oates had 12 points and tournament MVP Omari Taylor had 10 points.

“One thing we’ve told them from the very first day of conditioning to the locker room after the game today is that you never know whose night it is,” Wylie said. “That’s what makes us so tough to defend.”

Byron Bowser had nine points. Nehemiah McDonald had eight points. Jordan Salone had four points. Corson Stewart had two points.

Senior all-tournament selection Will Heard had 18 points and sophomore all-tournament selection Romello Pegues had 10 points to lead the Hawks (1-1).

Marquis Rosado had nine points. Quashaun Williams had six points. Sabine Wheeler and Jaleel White had four points apiece. Ahmad Morris had three points. Winston Waite had two points. Aaron Roberts had one point.

Overhills led 18-10 after the first quarter, 41-31 at halftime, 61-40 after the third quarter and 78-56 at the end of the fourth.

After the game, Nick Avery (Harnett Central), D’Angelo White (Western Harnett), Will Heard (Triton), Romello Pegues (Triton) and Kevin Lalin (Overhills) were named all-tournament selections. Overhills’ Omari Taylor was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

Overhills travels to South View and Triton is at Smithfield-Selma on Tuesday.

“We’ve got many goals and winning the Harnett County Tipoff is the start for us,” Wylie said. “We don’t have our eyes set on just winning the Harnett County Tipoff. We don’t have our eyes set on just beating some Fayetteville teams. We want to win a playoff game this year. Our goal is to win a playoff game and win the conference, either regular season or tournament. Winning the Harnett County Tipoff is a spring. It’s moving us forward.”

Marquis Rosado of Triton finishes a drive against Overhills.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/John Lucas)

Isaiah Oates shoots a 3-pointer for the Jaguars.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/John Lucas)

Omari Taylor of Overhills dunks in the tipoff event at Central.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/John Lucas)

Romello Pegues scores for Triton in the boys championship.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/John Lucas)

The Overhills boys basketball team is shown after winning their ninth straight tipoff title. Seated from left are Jordan Salone, Isaiah Page, Isaiah Oates, Damien Allen and assistant Derrick Austin. On the back row are coach Joe Wylie, Nehemiah McDonald, Chauncy Kelly, Corshon Stewart, Jay Byron, Bryan Bowser, Jaiden Odom, Kevin Lalin, assistant Tyree Massey, Omari Taylor and assistant Bryant Prentice.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/John Lucas)

Making the boys all-tournament team, from left, are Omari Taylor (MVP, Overhills), Kevin Lalin (Overhills), Nick Avery (Harnett Central), Will Heard (Triton) and Romello Pegues (Triton). Not picture is Western Harnett’s D’Angelo White. (Dunn Area Sports Photo/John Lucas)

Eva McRae scores for the Lady Jaguars.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/John Lucas)

Nashara Watlington-McNeill gets a hoop or the Triton girls.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/John Lucas)

Precious Harris scores for the Overhills girls on Tuesday night.
‘(Dunn Area Sports Photo/John Lucas)

JaNiah Smith of Triton shoots from beyond the arc.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/John Lucas)

Saniyah Samuel gets a hoop for the Overhills girls.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/John Lucas)

The Overhills girls basketball team is pictured above. On the front row, from left, are Natalynn Montague, Michaela Douglas, Lakeriah Armstead, Jayleen Barco-Cruz, Sadyia Davis, Nahija Allen and Anaiah McGhee. On the back row are assistant Teris Wolfe, Precious Harris, Tanzania Stiger, Gabriella Frank, Eva McRae, Winter Smith, Saniya Samuel, coach Tierra Kaiser and assistant Kandace Henry.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/John Lucas)

The girls all-tournament team is, from left, MVP Precious Harris (Overhills), Eva McRae (Overhills), Abby Hood (Triton), JaNiah Smith (Triton), Shay McCants (Western Harnett) and TaNira Edwards (Harnett Central). (Dunn Area Sports Photo/John Lucas)

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