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Northeast Trojans fall at NE Jones

By By Scott Walters/Special to The Star
Feb. 2, 2002
LAUREL Northeast Jones took another step toward the Division 5-4A boys' basketball regular season championship Friday night as a spirited second half lifted the Tigers to a 72-69 win over division rival Northeast Lauderdale at Tiger Gym.
The opener proved not as kind to the hosts as Northeast Lauderdale posted a 52-43 victory in the girls' contest.
NE Jones boys 72
NE Lauderdale 69
Northeast Jones moved to 16-10 overall and finished its division schedule with a 5-1 mark thanks to Friday's win. The Tigers' lone division setback came at Quitman.
Northeast Lauderdale fell to 22-5 overall and 4-1 in division play. Tuesday night, Northeast Lauderdale hosts Quitman in the final division game for both teams. If Quitman wins that contest, the Panthers will be seeded first at the 5-4A Tournament, which begins Feb. 12 back here at Northeast Jones. The host squad from Northeast would be seeded second and the Trojans would be third.
A Northeast Lauderdale win would create a three-way tie for first place. Seeding would then be done based on margin of victory.
Friday night, the Tigers erased a 26-24 halftime deficit by scoring the first six points of the second half.
Several Tigers were getting into the act. The first of two monster dunks by Josh Johnson energized the crowd and gave the Tigers a 32-31 lead midway through the third quarter.
Strong free-throw shooting and quality inside play allowed the hosts to stretch the lead to seven points at 50-43 early in the fourth quarter.
The Trojans battled back. Several key offensive rebounds by Marcus Bettis and the long-range shooting of Stephen Dyess kept the Trojans alive.
Indeed, the Trojans hung tight. They eventually forced a 61-61 tie on Jamaal Martin's 3-point basket with 2:34 left in regulation.
The teams also tied at 63-63 before Northeast Jones reeled off the next four points to take the lead for good.
A Josh Johnson putback, a Kevin Ducksworth steal, and two free throws by Pat Tyson gave Northeast Jones its 67-63 advantage.
Northeast Jones finished by hitting 14-of-17 free throws in the final half, including 7-of-10 in the last 1:45.
NE Lauderdale girls 52
NE Jones 43
Northeast Lauderdale built a 30-16 halftime lead and overcame a sluggish second half to record the victory.
Northeast Lauderdale moved to 16-13 overall and 4-1 in division play. If West Jones defeats Florence and Northeast Lauderdale defeats Quitman next week, West Jones will be top-seeded and Northeast Lauderdale will be second-seeded. Mendenhall will be third-seeded and Northeast Jones will be No. 4.
The Lady Trojans utilized an advantage in team speed as they scored several baskets in the transition game.
Northeast Jones trailed 48-35 with 3:33 left in the third quarter. The Lady Tigers reeled off six straight points to close within 48-41.
The attempt to come closer stalled as the Lady Tigers missed four straight shots from the floor.
Quin Jackson and Crystal Hopson scored back-to-back baskets for the Lady Trojans as the Lady Trojans moved back out of danger.
At one stretch, Northeast Lauderdale missed eight of 10 free throw attempts midway through the fourth quarter.
For Northeast Lauderdale, Hopson finished with 19 points, while Jackson added 18 points.
Sara Smith was the only Lady Tiger in double figures. Smith finished with 10 points, while Karen Jones added nine.