12/29/04 — Prep basketball -- New Bern comeback stuns Southern Wayne

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Prep basketball -- New Bern comeback stuns Southern Wayne

Published in Sports on December 29, 2004 1:55 PM

JACKSONVILLE -- Southern Wayne guards Akeem Royal and Derek Garris drained three straight 3-pointers to open up the third quarter Tuesday afternoon in the Saints' first-round match up with New Bern in the Home Team Athletics Holiday Classic and it appeared the rout was on.

The three deep-range bombs made the Saints 10-of-17 from beyond the arc and gave them a 54-35 lead over the Bears.

But New Bern didn't fold. First-year head coach Tod Morgan called a timeout and challenged his team to find a way to make it a game again.

The Bears more than made a game of it, as they clawed their way back, eventually forcing overtime on Todd Seymour's running layup with eight seconds left in regulation before winning in the extra period on Daryl Reynolds' tip in with six seconds left by a 77-76 score.

New Bern (4-6) advances to the second round, where they will play White Oak, who beat Pender, at 7:30 tonight. Southern Wayne will play Pender at 4:30.

Morgan, formerly a coach at Greene Central, said he wasn't so sure his team's man defense was up to snuff, but with the Saints hitting everything from the outside, the only way the Bears would have a chance was to give the defense a try.

"They were shooting the lights out against the zone," Morgan said. "So I challenged them a little bit. We've been working on the man defense for a while. This was a great win for us, coming back from so much against a very good team."

Down those 19 points, New Bern (4-6) scored 14 straight points, ending on a runner by Kenny Jones with 3:33 to go in the third quarter, to make the score 54-49 Southern Wayne. The Saints seemingly reclaimed control with four straight points, and eventually pushed the lead to 62-53 with 53 seconds left in the third. However, Reynolds buried a 3-pointer with two seconds left to make it 62-56 entering the last quarter.

In the third, New Bern hit 9 of 10 from the field, while forcing seven Saints turnovers. Southern Wayne coach Mike Connelley said his team rested a bit on its laurels after the early shooting spree, and it cost the Saints dearly.

"We started standing around too much," he said. "We just didn't take advantage of the chance we had. We had a lot of opportunities later as well, but we turned it over too much and didn't execute."

In the fourth, momentum was with the Bears as then scored the first 10 points to take a 66-62 lead. The Bears' 64-62 edge was the first advantage for them since early in the first quarter which started with New Bern taking an 8-2 lead.

Southern Wayne rallied again, taking the lead back at 67-66 after a 3 from Royal and two free throws by Alex Brailsford. The lead got as big as three before New Bern's Donte Fields hit one free throw and Geoff McLawhorn got the put back on the second miss to tie the game at 69.

Saints' forward Antonio Davis gave his team the lead with a jumper with 28 seconds left to set up one last Bear possession.

After calling timeout at midcourt, Seymour took the inbounds pass and drove to the hoop in the waning seconds. His up-and-under layup drew iron, but rolled around until it fell through to send the game to OT.

"It was a designed play for a pick and roll," Seymour said of the basket, which was his only one of the night. "I drove the middle and was either going to shoot or kick it out. I was hoping to get fouled, but it caught the front of the rim and went in."

New Bern took the lead in overtime on a thunderous dunk by Fields with 2:18 to go. After Southern Wayne missed a 3, Garris drained his fifth long-range shot of the game to make it 74-73 with 1:18 to go.

The two teams traded baskets with Reynolds hitting a layup and Royal putting back a miss to once again set up one last possession for the Bears.

This time Seymour drove to the middle and his shot was way off its mark, however, Reynolds streaked to the hoop and tipped it in for the lead. Garris' desperation heave missed to give New Bern the win.

Generra Taylor led New Bern with 19 points, including two 3-pointers. Reynolds had 15 points and five rebounds, while Fields had 13 points, eight rebounds and two steals. McLawhorn added nine points, while Seymour had four points and eight assists.

Royal led all scorers with 30 points, including five three-pointers. Garris had 19 points.

The Bears hit 30 of 44 shots from the field for a blistering 68 percentage.


Courtesy New Bern Sun Journal