Triton split a pair of closely-contested varsity basketball games with visiting All American 3-A/4-A Conference opponent Pine Forest on Thursday night, with Pine Forest winning the girls game and Triton taking the boys game.
The matchups were moved up from Friday night due to the forecast of inclement weather.
After a strong start by Triton, Pine Forest took the lead with a dominant third quarter, but the Hawks rallied in the fourth to win the boys game, 60-57.
“Even before the third, I was a little disappointed with the way we finished the first quarter and the second quarter,” said Triton boys coach T.J. Morrison. “One of our goals is to give up less than 10 a quarter and we had an opportunity to do that in the first and second quarter, but I think we ended up giving up 12 and 13.
“A couple of loose balls. A couple of rebounds. Just some plays we didn’t finish. We’ve got to be a little bit better there. And then in the third quarter, we gave up 22 and scored seven. But great effort gutting it out in the fourth quarter to get a win. Scary moments at times and looking doubtful for sure. They’re a good team and well-coached. That’s a good conference win.”
Junior Romello Pegues had 25 points and freshman Brandon Surles had 17 points to lead the Hawks (10-4, 3-1 AAC).
J.J. Cowan had six points. Ahmad Morris and Jamaury Taylor had four points apiece. Demarbiaz Devane and A.J. Dewar had two points apiece.
Senior Nehemiah McDonald had 24 points to pace the Trojans (7-5, 2-3).
Triton outscored Pine Forest 17-12 in the first quarter and 15-13 in the second to lead 32-25 at halftime.
Pine Forest dominated the third quarter, outscoring Triton 22-7 to take a 47-39 lead.
But Triton regrouped in the fourth quarter. Surles opened the quarter by scoring to start the Hawks on a 21-10 run to close out the game.
Pegues scored 15 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter.
“We felt like he hasn’t been himself since before Southern Lee (a 53-52 road loss on Dec. 22),” Morrison said. “He was sick for a couple of weeks and just hadn’t really been back to normal. So it was great to see him make a few buckets and be more aggressive and more assertive and take charge a little bit.”
The quintet of Pegues, Morris, Cowan, Taylor and Surles spent the entirety of the fourth quarter on the court for Triton. Morrison praised their play on the defensive end of the floor.
“I like to think that’s probably our best defensive five and that’s why they were there, for sure,” Morrison said.
In a game that was close throughout, Pine Forest edged Triton 50-43 in double overtime in the girls game.
Sophomore Neveah Hawley had 17 points and sophomore Nashara McNeil-Watlington had 16 points to lead the Hawks (9-5, 0-4). Ja’Niah Smith had eight points and Iliana Eason had two points.
Senior Chloe Wilson led the Trojans (6-6, 2-3) with 20 points.
Pine Forest outscored Triton 10-9 in the first quarter, but the Hawks outscored the Trojans 13-9 in the second and 10-9 in the third before the Trojans rallied by outscoring Triton 10-6 in the fourth to take the game to overtime.
After both teams scored five points apiece in the first overtime, Pine Forest shut out Triton in the second overtime, ending the game on a 7-0 run.
Triton travels to conference and Harnett County rival Overhills on Tuesday.