Overhills rolls past HC in boys final for eighth-straight tipoff title

by | Nov 25, 2021 | Harnett Central

Jaden Bryant hoists a three for Overhills in the boys championship.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/John Lucas)

Overhills won a 65-24 rout at Harnett Central in the championship game of the Bennie Pollock Memorial Harnett County Tipoff boys basketball tournament Wednesday night to claim its eighth straight county tournament championship.

“We played exactly like we did on Monday,” said Overhills coach Michael Stephens. “We were aggressive on defense and really took control of the game. We really wanted to speed it up. We knew coach (Will) Gage was going to try to slow it down and play a bit of a zone. I told the guys we wanted to push and we wanted to run as fast as we can so that he can’t play the slow pace, because that was to our detriment if we played slow.”

Despite his own team’s result, Harnett Central coach Will Gage was pleased with how the tournament went in its first year named for Coach Pollock.

“I think it’s a good event,” Gage said. “I think it’s fitting to name it in memory of Coach Pollock.

“As far as our game tonight, I think the things we did well last night we did not do tonight. I’ve said from the beginning that I thought the games that we set the tempo and play defense we would do well. If we did one of those two things, we would kind of still be in the game. On nights where we didn’t do either, it would get real ugly real quickly and that’s exactly what happened.”

A trio of seniors led the Jaguars (2-0) in scoring. Tournament MVP Ayden Gittens had 17 points and all-tournament selection Jamori McDougald and Damien Robinson had 14 points apiece.

Yabdiel Cruz had eight points. Maliq Walton had four points. Jaden Bryant and Jay Byron had three points apiece. Howard Gabriel had two points.

“We weren’t shooting the ball as well tonight as we did the other night,” Stephens said. “We were shooting the threes and they just weren’t falling like they did the other night. So, we kept shooting the easy buckets when we had the height on the other guy and we outrebounded them and I really think we played a lot more aggressive defense and put a lot of pressure on them.”

Senior all-tournament selection Quez Jones had six points and junior Nick Avery had six points and five rebounds to lead the Trojans (1-1).

Cohen Walker had five points. All-tournament selection Xavier Bailey had four points. Bryson Monroe had three points. Chris Mills had six rebounds and two blocks.

Overhills outscored Harnett Central 19-9 in the first quarter, 22-1 in the second and 19-6 in the third. Central outscored Overhills 8-5 in the fourth.

After the tournament, Western Harnett senior Christian Fielden, Triton junior Jalen Evans, Harnett Central seniors Quez Jones and Xavier Bailey and Overhills senior Jamori McDougald were named to the all-tournament team. Overhills senior Ayden Gittens was selected as the tournament’s most valuable player.

Overhills is at home against Cape Fear (1-0) on Monday. Harnett Central travels to Seaforth (0-1) on Tuesday.

Nick Avery puts up a 3-pointer for host Harnett Central.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/John Lucas)

Chris Mills of the Trojans blocks a shot attempt by the Jaguars.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/John Lucas)

Jamari McDougald gets a basket for the Jaguars against HC.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/John Lucas)

Tournament MVP Ayden Gittens drives and scores for Overhills.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/John Lucas)

Bryson Monroe of Harnett Central takes aim on a 3-pointer.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/John Lucas)

The Overhills varsity boys basketball team is shown after winning its eighth straight county tournament. On the front row, from left, are front from left are: Maliq Walton, Jaden Bryant, Isaiah Oates, Jamori McDougald and Jamar James. Standing are coach Michael Stephens, Ayden Gittens, Demarion Jackson, Kevin Lalin, Omari Taylor, Jay Byron, Damien Robinson, Howard Gabriel, Yabdiel Cruz and assistant Derrick Austin.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/John Lucas)

The boys all-tournament team is, from left. Jalen Evans (Triton), Jamori McDougald (Overhills), Quez Jones (Harnett Central), Xavier Bailey (Harnett Central) and Ayden Gittens (MVP, Overhills). Not pictured is Christian Fielden (Western Harnett). (Dunn Area Sports Photo/John Lucas)

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