Jordan had a plan to beat East Chapel Hill on Tuesday night and it worked for a half. Then it stopped and the Wildcats came back to take a 56-45 win to remain unbeaten in the PAC-6.
The Falcons fed Taqwain Bell continuously as he got behind the East Chapel Hill zone and he responded with 11 of his 15 points in the first half as Jordan build a slim 28-25 lead at halftime.
But in the second half, East Chapel Hill tightened up its defense on the backline and then began hitting shots. Justin Tucker, who finished with 18 points, popped a pair of 3s around one by Jordan’s Jaylen Richard coming out of the locker room and that tied game each time.
East Chapel Hill coach Ray Hartsfield said his team did a better job against Bell in the second half.
“It’s a battle every time we come over here,” Hartsfield said. “We didn’t do a good job on the baseline in the first half. Once we started taking away dribble penetration in the second half, we didn’t let (Bell) get active.”
And he was proud of the way Tucker shot the ball. Tucker had three 3s in the game and scored at least a bucket in every quarter.
“Sometimes you have to remind (Tucker) what he’s on the floor for,” Hartsfield said. “There should be no hesitation for him to shoot. I’ll tell him when not to shoot. He hit a couple of bit 3s early [in the third] and got us going.
The teams traded the lead as Boyi Bokar scored on a drive to push the Falcons back out it in front 33-31 with 4:38 left in the third quarter. But that was the last basket for Jordan until the start of the final period.
East Chapel Hill reeled off 12 straight points to take a 43-33 advantage.
Jonathan Runyambo, who finished with nine points, put East Chapel Hill in the lead for good at 34-33 when he converted a steal into a bucket with 2:56 left in the third.
Annas called that momentum swing in the game the key to East Chapel Hill’s win.
“We were playing pretty good basketball, had the lead coming out in the second half and we went away from what we’d done,” Annas said. “We turned the ball over. We missed shots. We let them back in the game. To their credit, they capitalized on it.”
Jordan committed five turnovers and missed four shots during that stretch. The Falcons only had nine turnovers in the game so those five in the third period were a major turning point.
Still, Jordan made a final run against the Wildcats. The Falcons hit a pair of quick baskets to start the fourth period to cut the lead down points at 43-37.
East Chapel Hill built its biggest lead of the game of 12 points when Kevin Gilland scored after an offensive rebound to make it 54-42.
The Wildcats also welcomed Carter Collins back into the lineup after he missed the last two games with an injured leg. He matched Tucker’s output of 18 points.
In the girls’ game, Jordan dominated East Chapel Hill for an 81-48 victory that kept the Falcons in the chase for third place in the conference.
Talia Barnes led Jordan with 19 points, while Imani Howard and Ashley Roberts added 12 each. East Chapel Hill was led by T.J. Johnson with 29 points.
Jordan jumped out to a 23-14 lead in the first quarter and extended their margin to 15 points at halftime as the Falcons built a 42-27 advantage. In the second half, Jordan continued to press and was able to extend its lead in each of the third and fourth quarters.