Tournament hosts Jordan earned a boy-girl sweep of Holly Springs and Kestrel Heights’ boys stayed undefeated on the year with a win over Rocky Mount Prep in the Martin Luther King Jr. Classic on Monday.
The Falcons girls upset the Golden Hawks 69-49, Kestrel pulled out a 65-52 win and the Jordan boys got a final-seconds shot to win 46-45.
A torrid second quarter sparked the Jordan girls to a 69-49 victory against visiting Holly Springs in the Martin Luther King Classic on Monday.
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The Falcons (11-4) entered having dropped their last two games and with a stiff challenge against a solid Hawks team (11-4). But not having a game since Jan. 5 and change in routine appeared to be just what the Falcons needed, as their frenetic tempo and press defense flummoxed Holly Springs.
“The girls were out of school, idle, excited to get back on the court,” Jordan coach Ty Cox said. “They were ready to engage having not played in 12 days.”
For at least the early portion of the game, Holly Springs stayed competitive. The Hawks ran their offense effectively and knocked down several open perimeter shots — once they ventured past half court. Jordan used varying degrees of press defense to force turnovers and create several transition baskets to lead 17-14 after one.
In the second quarter, it fell apart for Holly Springs.
An injury-depleted rotation couldn’t keep up with waves of fresh Falcons coming off the bench — every single Jordan player recorded a statistic — and the Hawks succumbed to the suffocating press. Jordan outscored Holly Springs 23-5 in the quarter and had the game locked up by halftime.
“Holly Springs is a good team,” Cox said. “We played one of the best halves we’ve played all season.”
The absence of Holly Springs' team captain Samantha Weaver was a huge blow to the Hawks. Senior forward Talia Barnes had her way against the Hawks interior, finishing with 20 points and 10 rebounds. The Falcons as a whole outrebounded Holly Springs, with even 5-foot-6 guard Imani Howard snagged eight boards for Jordan.
“I think mentally, it just took our players out of the game,” Holly Springs head coach Peace Easton said. “I told them everybody would have to do their job, plus more. They just took us out of our game completely. We weren’t ready before or after.”
Howard also finished with as many assists (5) as the entire Holly Springs team. Jordan finished with 13 assists, a sign of how effectively they moved the basketball and attacked in transition.
Two other players finished in double digits for Jordan, including sophomore Ni’amoni Bagley with 12 points and senior Brianna Allen with 11. Allen and Barnes are the only two seniors for Jordan, which Cox hopes will mean an upward trending arrow as they return to conference play.
BOYS – Game 1
Between the Jordan girls' and boys' game, Kestrel Heights and Rocky Mount Prep played in a matchup between two teams ranked in the top-10 of 1A teams.
In what verged at times on a track meet instead of a basketball game with its frenetic pace up and down the court, Kestrel Heights kept their perfect record unblemished with a 65-52 win.
Kestrel Heights led 18-15 after the first quarter, but neither team could untrack its offense in the second period. The tempo didn’t change in the second quarter, but neither team could find the bottom of the basket and entered the locker room tied at 23-23 at the half.
Late in the third quarter, the Hawks finally seized control. With 2:28 to go, senior guard Javier Rogers hit a three-pointer to stretch the lead to nine. On the ensuing Jaguars possession, Rogers stole the ball and finished at the other end for a layup and the first double-digit lead of the game.
Battling back in the fourth quarter, the Jaguars did manage to draw within four points after a jumper by junior guard Kalil Baker, who finished with 18 points. But turnovers would doom Rocky Mount Prep from drawing any closer, as the Hawks stretched the lead quickly back out to ten and piled on in the closing minutes for the final margin.
BOYS – Game 2
The final game of the Martin Luther King Classic gave spectators the best show of the day, as Jordan’s Jason Barnes hit a game-winning basket off of a broken play with 1.9 seconds remaining against visiting Holly Springs for a 46-45 win.
The Golden Hawks managed to complete a full-court pass, but freshman De’marcus Elliot’s turnaround jumper hit the side of the backboard at the buzzer and the Falcons escaped with the win.
“Great spectator game,” Jordan coach Kim Annas said. “They hit a lot of big shots, and I thought our guys responded by not getting down and continuing to stay after it.”
That sequence capped a wild final two minutes in the finale of the tournament held on Monday at Jordan.
The Falcons trailed 20-18 at halftime, but had taken a five-point lead with time dwindling in the fourth quarter. Fueled by turnovers and multiple players hitting 3-pointers, the Hawks went on a run to take the lead with 1:10 remaining.
“We had the lead and control, we just had one too many turnovers,” Annas said.
The Falcons fought back. Guard Xavier Eason drove the lane and hit a layup while being fouled. The ensuing free throw gave Jordan a lead, but Holly Springs retook it after senior guard Harry Morrison drove and dished to sophomore forward Kadin Shedrick.
With 8.5 seconds remaining, Annas drew up a play to put the ball in the hands of senior Jaylen Richard, one of his better offensive players. Richard attacked the lane, but lost the ball. Curtis came up with it and launched a floater through a hedge of arms that hit the back side of the rim and rattled in for what proved to be the game-winner.
“The play didn’t go as we drew it up,” Annas joked. “But it went to our favor that (Curtis) was able to pick the ball up and hit a big shot.”
Holly Springs coach Richard Young had 1.9 seconds left, and drew up a play that had won a game before in a similar situation. But a team that had already hit so many big shots and made so many defensive stops could not find one more of either.
“My guys are really young, so I’m very proud of the way they fought,” Young said. “It hasn’t been that way the first half of the season. ... (I) hate that we lost, but I’m glad about the fight.”