Hawk boys top Gators
Published in Sports on December 30, 2004 1:56 PM
LAGRANGE -- North Lenoir senior standout Justin Dunn struggled mightily from the field in Wednesday's Free Press Holiday Invitational opener against Spring Creek.
Although the guard, who entered the game averaging more than 23 points per game, only finished with nine points on 4-of-14 shooting, his Hawk teammates filled the scoring void as North Lenoir downed the Gators, 64-54.
The Hawks (7-1) will face county rival South Lenoir at 8 p.m. today in the Invitational championship. The teams played four times last season, with North Lenoir winning the final three -- all in Wheat Swamp.
Antwan Wiggins (21 points) and Omar Jones (20) both exceeded their season averages to help North Lenoir when its star was having shooting woes.
North Lenoir coach Paul Dunn said, "Everyone in the state and the nation knows who Justin Dunn is. He's our go-to guy. But I have four or five other guys who can get it done, too."
It took a while for North Lenoir to shake off its holiday rust as the Hawks turned the ball over 11 times and only hit 12-of-35 shots (34.3 percent) in the opening half. North Lenoir held a slim 25-22 lead at halftime.
But the Hawks found their shooting touch in the second half, as they shot 10-of-15 (66.7 percent) in a 22-point third quarter. They also hit 5-of-10 in the fourth quarter as they kept a scrappy Gators team, who entered Wednesday's game on a seven-game winning streak, at bay.
Terry Jones, a 23-year-old assistant, coached the Gators (7-2), whose head coach, Sonny Kilpatrick, is hospitalized for severe bronchitis.
"Our team played an excellent ballgame and did everything we expected of them," Jones said. "I told them that (North Lenoir) is a team that they need to measure themselves up against. (North Lenoir) is the type of competition we will see in the state finals."
The Gators, who face Eastern Wayne at 4 p.m. today in the Invitational's consolation game, placed three players in double digits in scoring: Josh Bishop (14), Chris Wright (12) and Myke King (11).
With the Lenoir County rivals playing each other today in the championship, Dunn said fans should arrive early if they want a seat.
Spring Creek 10 12 16 16 -- 54
North Lenoir 12 13 22 17 -- 64
Josh Bishop 14, Dalreese Bell 9, Mychael King 11, Chris Wright 12, Josh Wright 8.
Rosber 6, Dunn 9, Edwards 8, Omar Jones 20, Antwan Wiggins 21.
By BRYAN C. HANKS
Free Press Sports Editor
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