Northeast edges by Quitman
By By Rocky Higginbotham/Special to The Star
Jan. 12, 2002
DEKALB Way back in November, Northeast Lauderdale's boys beat a short-handed Quitman squad by 17 points.
Friday night in the semifinals of the Sam Dale Tournament at Kemper County, Northeast head coach Lewis Lightsey knew he'd see a different bunch of Panthers.
And he certainly did.
Northeast blew a 21-point lead, then got a pair of free throws from Marcus Betts with 4.6 seconds remaining to knock off Quitman 84-82 and reach tonight's championship game.
The Trojans, who are now 17-3, will take on Kemper County at approximately 6:45 p.m. Kemper beat Northeast on the Trojans' home floor last season in the Sam Dale, while Northeast won the tourney two years ago.
Kemper reached the championship game with a 74-56 win over Southeast in Friday's other semifinal both of which were played in front of a standing-room-only crowd.
Northeast boys 84
The ever-improving Panthers led 19-18 after one quarter, but Northeast opened the second period with 18 unanswered points to take control.
Dekenno Winston and Jamaal Martin knocked down a pair of 3-pointers for the Trojans during the 18-0 run, and putbacks from Greg Powell and Kalani White just before the half sent Northeast into the locker room with a 43-25 lead.
Quitman opened the second half with a 15-2 run, holding Northeast to just a pair of free throws in the first four minutes of the third quarter while getting a spark from Marcus McCormick.
McCormick blocked a shot on one end, took it to the other and threw it down with both hands to pull Quitman within 47-40.
Northeast answered this run with a 12-2 spurt of its own, and took its biggest lead of the game at 65-44 heading into the final quarter after another 3 by Martin.
A couple of NBA-range 3-pointers from Jason Pearson and a pair of steals by McCormick sparked Quitman in the fourth, when the Panthers erupted for 28 points to tie the game.
Pearson's final 3 with 2:53 left brought Quitman within five, and McCormick's basket with 14 seconds remaining tied it.
After Betts hit his two free throws at the other end, Quitman failed to get off a shot and fell to 5-12.
Martin led Northeast with 20, while Winston scored 18, White 17 and Stephen Dyess six. White had 11 rebounds, Winston had nine boards and three assists, Powell had eight rebounds and Martin had four steals.
McCormick had 26 points, six rebounds, three assists, four steals and three blocked shots in a stellar performance for the Panthers. Pearson finished with 18 points, while Jonathan McCarty had eight points and six rebounds, Lorenzo White seven points and Lonnie McGee and Rod Laphand six points apiece.
Kemper County 74
Southeast boys 56
In a contest that began at 10:29 p.m., both teams looked as if they had already hit the sack.
Southeast fell behind 9-0 and didn't score until midway through the first quarter, but was right back within three early in the second period thanks to 12 first-half turnovers from Kemper.
The Wildcats regrouped to take a 39-23 advantage into the locker room, and Southeast never got any closer than 10 points in the second half.
Marques Mays led a balanced scoring attack for the Wildcats, pumping in 16 points while RonTerrian Dale scored 12, Chris Davis 11 and James Moore 10. Kendrick Benneman, Gary Griffin and Terrance Westerfield all had seven points each as Kemper moved to 17-5.
Southeast got four 3-pointers and 18 points from Ben Reed, 12 points from Lapatrick Carlisle, seven points each from Nehemiah Nwankpah and B.B. Brassfield and six from Richard Harris.