Harnett Central split Tri-County Six 3-A Conference varsity basketball games with visiting Lee County on Tuesday, with Central winning the girls game and Lee taking the boys contest.
Harnett Central held off a fourth-quarter rally to top Lee County 49-41 in the girls game.
“Brittany (Mills) got in foul trouble and Brittany runs our show,” said Harnett Central girls coach Catherine Griffin. “When Brittany’s not in, we just don’t have anybody confident enough in their ball handling and so they took advantage of that. But I was proud of the girls that were in there for not giving up and fighting through. We can tell that we’ve got to work on somebody else’s ball handling skills besides Brittany. Because when she’s not in the game we hurt a little bit. I’m just proud of the other girls for sticking it out and fighting through for the win.”
Junior Brittany Mills had 17 points and fellow juniors Lya Molyneaux and Syniah McMiller had 13 points apiece to lead the Trojans (12-2, 3-0 TCSC).
“I think the other girls just feed off of (Mills) and her confidence,” Griffin said. “She played phenomenal tonight. The best game she’s played in a while. I’m so proud of her.”
JoNese Monroe had four points and Madeline Langdon had two points.
Senior Olivia Norris had 15 points and sophomore Alyssa Martin had 10 points to lead the Yellow Jackets (2-14, 1-2).
Central outscored Lee 19-7 in the first quarter, 9-5 in the second and 12-10 in the third to lead 40-22.
Lee took advantage of Mills being sidelined with foul trouble at the beginning of the fourth quarter. After Molyneaux scored to push the lead to 20, the Yellow Jackets went on a 13-1 run to cut the lead to eight. But eight was the closest Lee would get and the Trojans held on to stay unbeaten in conference play.
“We looked a little sluggish in the fourth quarter,” Griffin said. “We’re going to work on that tomorrow and Thursday to be ready for Friday night. I’m not really sure why, but we’re going to work on it and fix it.”
After Harnett Central led by 20 at the end of the first quarter, Lee County rallied to take a 62-55 win in the boys game.
“We played the first quarter about as well as we could have expected to play,” said Harnett Central boys coach Will Gage. “I told them kind of to reflect back on what had happened at Western Harnett Friday night, how they had jumped on us in a quarter and we battled back. I said, ‘They’re going to do the same thing. They’re not just going to roll over. They’re going to play even harder now.’ And I thought we got sloppy on the offensive end. I thought the defensive intensity was not there in the second quarter. And they battled their way back into it. They executed. They didn’t rush. They got back on defense and made us work on defense. And we didn’t take good shots. And in the second half, on critical possessions I thought we just got outplayed at both ends.”
Senior Anthony Tomlinson had 18 points and senior Justin Perkins had 17 points to pace the Trojans (8-6, 2-1).
Tre Williams had seven points. Austin Swan had six points. Croix Shipman had four points. Richard Edwards had two points. Deandre Morris had one point.
Senior Jarrian Hanncock led the Yellow Jackets (5-12, 1-2) with 21 points.
Central came out firing on all cylinders. Williams hit a three almost immediately to start the game, sparking the Trojans on a 28-8 run, capped by Perkins scoring at the buzzer to end the first quarter.
But the Trojans struggled in the second quarter, as the Yellow Jackets went on a 23-7 run to cut the lead to 35-31 at halftime.
Lee outscored Central 16-13 in the third quarter. Hanncock had scored to tie the game at the buzzer but was called for a technical foul for unsportsmanlike conduct. Williams made one of the ensuing free throws to put Central back in front 48-47 at the end of the quarter.
Lee opened the fourth quarter with nine unanswered points and led the rest of the way.
Both teams will be on the road to continue conference play on Friday. Harnett Central travels to Southern Lee and Lee County is at Western Harnett.