Published: 12:34 AM, Thu Feb 16, 2012
Westover, Southern Lee boys in Cape Fear Valley 3-A title game
Neither Westover nor Southern Lee, the one and two seeds, respectively, had much trouble Wednesday earning a spot in the final of the Cape Fear Valley 3-A Conference tournament.
The two teams will square off Friday at Westover at 7:30 p.m. in the third contest between the squads this year. They split the first two meetings.
The Cavaliers earned a 69-53 win over No. 6 seed Gray's Creek in Wednesday's first semifinal before yielding the floor to host team Westover, which eliminated No. 5 Western Harnett 69-52.
Westover (17-6) started the game in a brief cloud of confusion, with an early foul on C.J. Ford, a five-second violation and a scoreless bout through the first 2 1/2minutes of play.
Then, with 5:28 to play in the quarter, Khyrice Salon hit a 3-pointer for the Wolverines' first goal of the game, effectively snapping his team into clarity.
From there, Westover cruised through the first half to a 37-24 lead at halftime.
In the third period, Westover lost rhythm again, scoring just seven points in the period and allowing the Eagles (10-15) to narrow the gap to 44-34 to start the fourth.
The Eagles' Stacy Slade shined in the decisive quarter, scoring 11 of his game-high 20 points.
Along with Slade's surge, the Eagles fouled to slow the clock and force the Wolverines to the line.
Just as Slade shined for the Eagles, sophomore Eddie Jackson answered the call for the Wolverines, scoring 12 in the fourth quarter.
After Westover's lead slipped to single digits, Jackson was fouled under the basket by Slade, who earned a technical immediately afterward.
Jackson made all four free throws to improve Westover's cushion to 50-38 and swing the momentum back in the Wolverines' favor.
"My free throw percentage was really low at the start of the season," Jackson said. "But we shoot free throws everyday at the end of practice. It's like a little game we have that's improved our free throw shooting."
Jackson finished the night with 19 points to set up the rematch with Southern Lee.
"Southern Lee is a very good team that's very well coached," Westover coach George Stackhouse said. "We know we're going to have our hands full, and we'll have to come out focused."
Southern Lee (19-6) earned its win against the Bears (8-15) on the shoulders of senior Josh Mellette, who led all scorers with 36 points.
Mellette posted 14 in the first quarter to help catapult the Cavaliers ahead 24-12 at the end of the period.
From there, Southern Lee never looked back, controlling the pace of the game and making baskets in transition.
Gray's Creek struggled to make shots from all distances through the first three quarters, putting Cavaliers ahead 54-31 to start the fourth.
The Bears outscored Southern Lee 22-15 in the final quarter, but the effort, led by a six-point frame by Jeff Gibson, was too late to overcome the Cavaliers' lead.
Gibson led the Bears with 15.
Southern Lee 69, Gray's Creek 53
GRAY'S CREEK - McMillian 7, Jeff Gibson 15, Ken McDowell 10, Wade 6, Wallace 4, Washington 4, Woods 2, Butler 5
SOUTHERN LEE - Locust 5, Josh Lee 15, Josh Mellette 36, Chalmers 4, Ingram 6, Ja. Jackson 1, Ju. Jackson 2
Technical fouls: GC - McMillian
3-point goals: GC - Butler; SL - Locust, Ingram 2
Records: Gray's Creek 8-15, Southern Lee 19-6
Westover 69, Western Harnett 52
WESTERN HARNETT - Stacy Slade 20, Pratt 3, Russell 2, McNeil 6, Jordan Trapp 10, Freeman 6, Buie 5
WESTOVER - C.J. Ford 11, Lathan 5, Khyrice Salon 11, Alphonzo Josey 12, Eddie Jackson 19, Manning 2, Tillman 7, Ellerbe 2
Fouled out:WH - Pratt, Trapp, Buie; W - Salon
Technical fouls: WH - Slade
3-point goals: WH - Slade, Pratt, McNeil 2; W - Salon, Josey
Records: Western Harnett 10-15, Westover 17-6