Lee County advanced to the championship game of the Tri-County Six 3-A Conference varsity boys basketball tournament with a 66-49 win over Harnett Central on Tuesday night at Southern Lee.
The Yellow Jackets (10-13) will meet Southern Lee (21-3) at Campbell’s Gore Arena in the final on Thursday night at 8:30.
Central moved into the semifinals with a 65-46 win at home over Union Pines on Monday night.
“It’s an understatement to say we weren’t nearly as sharp on either end as we were last night,” said Trojans coach Will Gage. “We played kind of weak with the basketball at times. That translated into them getting turnovers and easy baskets. When it happened a couple of times, it ballooned.
“Had we been within striking distance in the fourth (quarter), I give the guys credit, they made a good little run.”
Trailing 54-36 with just over four minutes left, the Trojans had a 10-4 flurry that included 3-pointers from Jalaan Signal and Kasey Perkins, to trim the margin to 58-46 on a follow shot by Kaizer Ray with 1:46 remaining.
Another three by Signal cut the lead to 60-49 with a little more than a minute to go.
“We could have said it’s over, but we kept competing,” Gage said.
The Trojans are 14-10 and appear to be in position for a state playoff berth.
“We’ve accomplished too many good things this year to let this one game be indicative of what quality team we have,” Gage said. “We’ll wait and see. I would think we would be in (NCHSAA playoffs). That’s what a lot of projections have. That’s kind of our mindset.
“Same thing if the result had been different — we’re going to practice (Wednesday). … Instead of preparing for a game Thursday, it will be just regular practice.
“We’ll try to get as much conditioning as we can in, preparing for a Monday game.”
Ray led Central with 15 points as he made five of six field goal attempts. Adam Jackson scored 11. Kasey Perkins had nine for the Trojans. Signal netted eight points and Chase Mullins finished with six.
Mullins had 15 rebounds and Ray grabbed seven. Kasey Perkins had five rebounds, three assists and three steals. Signal had three assists.