12/04/08 — Saints win in OT

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Saints win in OT

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on December 4, 2008 1:46 PM

DUDLEY -- Southern Wayne and North Lenoir traded punches like heavyweight prize fighters Wednesday evening.

The Saints scored the knockout in overtime.

Southern Wayne deposited nine points in the extra session and exited with a 78-73, non-conference victory.

"It's always good to win in your home gym, and tonight was an emotional victory for us," said Saints head coach Russell Stephens. "Both teams played with so much intensity. It was really great."

Trailing 73-72 with one minute to play in overtime, the Saints employed the perfect mixture of power and finesse. Gary Woodard found Desmond Raiford on the block, who made his signature bull-rush move toward the basket.

Stopping short, Raiford kicked the ball out to Ramsey Turner who buried a three-point basket and ignited the Saints crowd.

"Ramsey is our best outside shooter and that's why he is in the game ... to stretch the defense," said Stephens. "Desmond did a good job of finding him and Ramsey didn't hesitate to put it up."

After a failed Hawk possession, the Saints raced the ball up the floor. Justin Artis slipped into some vacant space under the hoop and dropped in an insurance layup with just 17 seconds to play.

After another North Lenoir miss, Raiford sealed the outcome with a free throw. He finished with a double-double -- 22 points, 14 rebounds.

"Desmond is a guy, when he comes in, we know what we want to do offensively," said Stephens. "We want to pound the ball inside and get him touches around the basket."

North Lenoir got off to a fast start in the first quarter behind the hot hand of Chris McPhail. The fiery guard sank two 3-pointers and gave the Hawks a 17-11 advantage after eight minutes.

Southern Wayne turned the momentum around in the second period as foul trouble and choppy play dictated the game's tempo. The Saints led 35-31 at the intermission.

"We knew that if we wanted to win the game, we would have to get some stops," said Stephens. "In the second quarter I thought we did a good job of that."

The teams played a back-and-forth second half.

Southern Wayne extended its lead to as many as 10 in the third quarter, but North Lenoir would not be put away early.

McPhail kept the Hawks within striking distance with a four-point play, a pair of 3-pointers and a perfect 5-for-5 effort at the free throw line in the second half. As a team, the Hawks scored 24 points in the fourth quarter to send the game to overtime.

The Saints (3-3 overall) showcased a balanced attack. Turner and Dwight Smith each finished with 11 points. Justin Artis chipped in seven points.

North Lenoir (2-1) was led by McPhail's game-high 27 points. Joe Whitfield added 13, while Maurice Morgan posted nine points.