Published: 12:07 AM, Thu Mar 01, 2012
Triton rallies past Westover, 55-51
Kendrick Harris was having a quiet night through more than 31 minutes of Triton's Eastern Regional semifinal contest Wednesday.
But that quiet performance disentagrated into thunderous cheers from the Hawk faithful when Harris, with 20 seconds to play and his team trailing by by one point, hit a 3-pointer from the corner to give his team a two-point lead.
The Hawks (27-3) would eventually add a pair of free throws - from Harris again - to defeat Westover 55-51, earning Triton its first trip to the NCHSAA 3-A Eastern Regional final in program history.
The Hawks will face Rocky Mount (25-3) in Saturday's final at 2 p.m. at the Crown Coliseum.
Harris finished the night with 12 points, bested by fellow Hawk Tony McNeill's 15. Westover's Irving Aughburns scored a game-high 16 points.
The Wolverines (20-8) held the lead through much of the game, outshooting the Hawks through the first three quarters and frustrating Triton's offensive efforts with its tight man-to-man defense.
Westover held a 33-22 lead at the half, boosted by Aughburns' 12 first-half points.
Triton began to turn the tide in the third quarter, rebounding Westover's missed shots and pushing the ball down the court for transition baskets. The Hawks outscored the Wolverines 19-9 in the period and ended the third a point down at 42-41 after Dedrick Stacker made a 3 as the quarter ended.
"We made a few bad decisions," Westover coach George Stackhouse said. "Our guys got a little tentative on offense, and Triton took advantage of that and gained momentum."
"Some people might have said, 'Well, it's been a good run, but this isn't our night,' " Hawks' coach T.J. Morrison said. "Our kids didn't do that. They stayed in."
Harris made a 3-pointer 28 seconds into the fourth to give Triton its first lead of the night at 43-42, and the teams battled back-and-forth through the final quarter until Harris late 3-pointer gave the Hawks a 53-51 lead with 20 seconds.
Westover had a final chance on the following possession when guard Eddie Jackson was fouled under the basket. The sophomore missed both, giving the Hawks the ball back with 11 seconds left.
Triton 55, Westover 51
WESTOVER- Eddie Jackson 10, Saylon 6, Josey 4, C. Ford 8, Irving Aughburns 16, Moody 7
TRITON- McBryde 7, Kendrick Harris 12, P. McNeill 8, D. Elliot 3, Tony McNeill 15, Rakin 2, I. McNeill 2, Stacker 6
Fouled out: None
Technical fouls: None
3-point goals: W - Josey, Aughburns 3; T - Harris 2, Stacker
Records: Westover 20-8, Triton 27-3