01/17/10 — Saints slip past North Lenoir

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Saints slip past North Lenoir

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on January 17, 2010 12:12 AM

DUDLEY - There is no such thing as any easy win during league play.

Especially in the evenly-matched Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference.

Southern Wayne fought through a stagnant third quarter and converted down the stretch in a 58-54 victory over North Lenoir on Friday night.

After trailing by 10 points at the halftime break, the Hawks amped up their defense and clawed their way to a 39-39 tie at the end of three quarters. With two minutes to play the visitors took their first lead (50-49) on a putback by Trey Harris.

"It seems like unless something crazy happens we aren't all the way into the game," Southern Wayne head coach Russell Stephens said. "North Lenoir did a great job to come back and our guys did a good job to finish strong."

Bernard Gross deposited a basket on the Saints ensuing possession and Jonathan Joyner followed with a bucket and gave home team a lead it would never relinquish.

With 14 seconds to play, Maurice Morgan pulled the Hawks within two points (56-54) on a driving layup. But the visitors watched helplessly as Justin Artis iced the game with a pair of foul shots for Southern Wayne (9-6 overall, 2-0 ECC).

"We fought back so hard and we just couldn't get that last stop," North Lenoir head coach Eric Waters said. "It's kind of been that way for us lately. We just come up one play short from a win."

Harris paced the Hawks (8-9, 0-3) with 13 points. D.J. Artis finished with 12 markers and nine rebounds while Morgan added eight points and 12 boards.

Artis led Southern Wayne offensively with 17 points. Joyner added eight points and seven rebounds. Khari Faison chipped-in seven points and nine boards.

"Justin did a good job of taking over late in the game and controlling our offense," said Stephens. "(Artis) kept us on track from both the point guard and shooting guard spots."

Southern Wayne will endure a long slate of road games next week when they travel to South Johnston on Tuesday and Goldsboro and Wednesday before making a trip to Eastern Wayne.

North Lenoir will take time off for exams this week before their next game against South Johnston on Friday night.