Meridian Star

Sports

January 3, 2014

Northeast uses buzzer-beater to sink Southeast

DEKALB — Northeast Lauderdale blew a 22-point lead to rival Southeast Lauderdale Friday night in the opening round of the Sam Dale Tournament at Kemper County High School. But, sophomore guard Rod Jennings sent Trojans fans happy, hitting a buzzer-beater from the top of the key to propel Northeast to a 48-46 win.

    “I was actually the second option,” Jennings said. “The first one didn’t work, they threw it to me, and it just went in.”

    With five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Southeast went on an 11-0 run, tying the game with a basket from Zelonne Crowell with 43 seconds remaining. The Tigers had a chance to win the game 11.9 seconds, but Northeast junior Aaron Adams stepped in front of an inbound pass and called a timeout with 4.2 seconds to set up the game winner.

    Battling foul trouble in the second half, Northeast head coach Lewis Lightsey was forced to use a zone defense. Before Southeast inbounded the ball, he elected to switch back to man-to-man and go for the turnover.

    “We just decided, hey, we held on as long as we could, let’s go back to man,” Lightsey said. “It just worked out for us.”

    Northeast outscored Southeast 14-8 in the first quarter, before dominating the second quarter to go into the half up 32-13. Then the Tigers began to chip away. Down 40-18 early in the third quarter, Southeast used scrappy play to dominate the boards, going on a 14-2 run to bring the score to 42-32 with 6:43 remaining in the fourth quarter.

    Despite the the heart-breaking loss, Southeast head coach Centel Truman believes his team can grow from the outcome.

    “I have something to put on film now and show them and hold them accountable to,” he said. “Now, when they come out I’ll tell them to play like they did in the second half of the Sam Dale Tournament. Nobody want’s to lose, but this will be a loss we can build on in the future.”

With starting forward Jacoby Hendrix on the bench due to a thigh bruise, fellow senior Maurice Clemons stepped up with 21 points for Northeast (8-7).    

    “He carried us in the first half,” Lightsey said of Clemons. “He made a lot of big shots for us. He’s probably the reason why we got that shot at the end. They had so many guys on him, we were able to get a shot.”

    Junior center Damion Willis led Southeast (4-5) with 10 points.

    Northeast will advance to the championship game tonight at 6:30 p.m. against Quitman. Southeast will play in the consolation game at 3:30 p.m against Kemper County.

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