BENSON — West Johnston built an 11-point lead against county rival South Johnston on Tuesday night, but had to hold on for a 52-51 overtime victory in a nonconference boys basketball game.
The host Wildcats withstood a 27-point barrage from senior guard D.J. Collins, who hit a pair of 3-pointers in overtime to account for all six of the Trojans’ points in the extra period.
“We shot the ball really well until the fourth quarter,” West Johnston coach Kris Bennett said. “We have had that problem in the past couple of games. We had some open shots, some layups, putbacks that just didn’t fall for us. That allowed South to rally.
“Collins is an exceptional player, an exceptional athlete. Just trying to contain is all you can do when he is hitting like that.”
South Johnston (0-6) came close to its first victory, but West Johnston made the plays it had to in overtime to win for the second time this season against South.
After Collins’ 3-pointer with 2:02 left in overtime gave the Trojans a 48-46 lead, Channing Joyner answered with a 3-pointer of his own to put West back in front at 49-48 with 1:40 left in overtime.
Brando Baucom sank a free throw with 42.6 seconds left and added another with 20.0 seconds left to make it 51-48. Cameron Williams pushed the Wildcats’ margin to 52-58 with 8.1 seconds left.
Collins swished a 3-pointer with one second left for the final margin.
South Johnston had a tough night shooting, hitting just three of 10 shots in the first quarter to trail 15-8. The Trojans pulled within 21-17 by halftime, but came out cold in the third quarter.
The Wildcats outscored the Trojans 14-7 in the first six minutes of the fourth quarter to go up 35-24. Then the Trojans came back.
“We had some letdowns on the defensive end that I thought they capitalized on,” Bennett said. “I don’t know if we got a little tired or what it was and they did a good job of capitalizing on them.”
Joyner, a senior forward, led West Johnston with 13 points and Carvon Harrington had 10 points.
South Johnston coach David Dewey applauded his team’s effort.
“I was proud of the way we battled back,” he said. “We just couldn’t get enough shots to fall.”