For the second year in a row, Overhills swept the Harnett County Tipoff Tournament Championships, with the girls beating Western Harnett for their second straight county championship and the boys topping Triton for their sixth straight county crown at Gore Arena inside the John W. Pope Convocation Center at Campbell on Monday night.
A fourth-quarter surge helped Overhills hold off Western Harnett 45-38 in the girls championship.
“It was a win, but it was an ugly win,” said first-year Overhills girls’ coach Brittany Kiley, an assistant on last year’s county championship team. “Either way, we defended our title and I’m happy about that. We were really slacking on our rebounding in the first half and we picked it up a little in the second half. And our defense wasn’t as together as it was against Harnett Central and I think that kind of hurt us and let them be in the game longer than they should have been.”
“Tonight, we weren’t as proficient as what we usually do on offense,” said Western Harnett girls’ coach Matthew Smith, also a first-year head coach who was an assistant last year. “Hat’s off to Overhills. They played us pretty well. They played well tonight. We just didn’t step up and get done what we wanted to get done.”
Sophomore tournament MVP J’Kyah Kelley had 26 points to pace the Jaguars (2-0).
“We rely on her a lot and luckily she stood out tonight,” Kiley said. “Her and Iyonnah (Council) last year were our two leading scorers, but J’Kyah has really stepped up and we’re thankful for her.”
Iyonnah Council and All-Tournament selection Kiana Jones had five points apiece. Janiah Gary-Cole had three points. Divine Alexis, Jade Butcher and Tatyana Jordan had two points apiece.
“This year our team is pretty equal,” Kiley said. “We have several girls that can step up and have stepped up so far in the two games we’ve played. So, I think growing and going forward, we can only go up.”
The Eagles (1-1) were led by senior All-Tournament selection Lahaina “LaLa” Bell, with 19 points.
Javona Farrington had seven points. All-Tournament selection Makyia Mackey had six points. Makayla Bailey had four points. Taija Pruitt had two points.
Smith lamented Western’s 12-for-27 (44.4 percent) performance at the free throw line.
“We shoot free throws every day in practice,” Smith said. “Tonight, it was like our legs were tired. We couldn’t get them there.”
The game was a close battle, with Overhills leading 11-9 at the end of the first quarter and 24-23 at halftime.
Mackey scored early in the third quarter to give Western its first lead of the game at 25-24. But Overhills responded with a 9-2 run to lead 33-27 at the end of the third.
With Overhills leading 35-33 in the fourth, Kelley scored eight unanswered points to give the Jaguars a 10-point lead that Western could not overcome.
Girls All-Tournament honors went to Triton’s Anaya Lockamy, Harnett Central’s Syniah McMiller, Western Harnett’s Makyia Mackey and Lahaina Bell and Overhills’ Kiana Jones. For the second straight year, Overhills sophomore J’Kyah Kelley was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
Jaguar boys prevail, 50-46
Fourth-quarter free throws helped Overhills edge Triton 50-46 in the boys championship.
“It’s just a tribute to the program as a whole (winning six straight),” said Overhills boys coach Tony Lewis. “These guys expect to win this thing. It wasn’t pretty, but I thought defensively we played really, really well. Offensively we’ve just got some timing issues, but hopefully that’s going to come.”
Triton boys coach T.J. Morrison said the Hawks struggled with the Jaguars’ zone defense.
“We looked like we had never faced a zone,” Morrison said. “We practiced last week, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and tried to simulate some of their stuff. Wednesday and Friday, not so good. Saturday, I thought we looked a lot better and I felt better about it. I thought we’d get some good looks and attack and didn’t today until later. But I like what we’re doing. Every game, every practice is an opportunity to get better and we’re getting better. It’s fun to watch and it’s going to be fun to see how much they improve. I don’t know if that means wins. I hope it does, but it’s a good group.”
Jaylen Moore and All-Tournament selection Lexuus Fasce, the only two seniors for the Jaguars (2-0), had 12 points apiece and sophomore tournament MVP Cinque Lemon had 10 points to lead Overhills.
“(Moore) is one of the kids that have been with us,” Lewis said. “He’s a senior. He’s been big in crunch time. He’s made some big free throws down the stretch. We’ve only got two seniors on the whole team and he’s one of them and that senior leadership is important.”
Truman Clayton had nine points. Jase Ford had five points. Jordan Davis had two points.
Senior All-Tournament selection Derreon Burnett had 14 points and seven rebounds and junior Travion Sanders had 13 points and seven rebounds to lead the Hawks (1-1).
Emari White had seven points, four assists and three steals. Colby Parker had five points, seven rebounds and four assists. All-Tournament selection Kalil Hodges had four points. Shaiheim Strickland had three points and two blocks.
Sanders hit a three at the buzzer to give Triton a 9-6 lead at the end of the first quarter, but Overhills answered with a 19-9 run to lead 25-18 at halftime.
Triton cut the lead to 34-32 at the end of the third and the score remained close throughout the fourth.
A Sanders three midway through the fourth gave Triton a 42-40 lead, but a Clayton score tied it and a Ford free throw put Overhills back in front. Including Ford’s trip to the line for the lead, Overhills went 8-for-10 at the free throw line down the stretch, including a perfect 4-for-4 from Lemon, to hold off the Hawks.
“Effort was good,” Morrison said. “I loved that they were still in the game, still fighting, still trying to make plays. I’m excited for practice tomorrow. First days on our actual court (Triton’s gym has been under repair from damage caused by Hurricane Florence), so maybe we can get a little bit better between now and Friday.”
Boys All-Tournament honors went to Western Harnett’s Tre’ Richardson, Harnett Central’s Kasey Perkins, Triton’s Kalil Hodges and Derreon Burnett and Overhills’ Lexuus Fasce. Overhills sophomore Cinque Lemon was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
Western Harnett is at South Johnston on Tuesday and Triton hosts South Johnston on Friday.
Overhills opens Patriot 4-A/3-A Conference play at E.E. Smith on Tuesday and at home against Cape Fear on Friday. The boys team also has a game at the Millbrook Showcase in Raleigh on Saturday.