01/23/11 — Eastern Wayne rallies past South Johnston

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Eastern Wayne rallies past South Johnston

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on January 23, 2011 1:51 AM

Staring a second straight Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference upset in the face, Eastern Wayne delivered a pair of staggering haymakers.

The Warriors used a 19-5 third-quarter run and a 16-2 fourth-quarter spurt to rally past ECC foe South Johnston for a 68-57 win on Friday night in New Hope.

Eastern Wayne forced nine turnovers in the third quarter and turned a 36-26 deficit into a 43-41 lead enterting the fourth quarter.

Warriors' sophomore guard Lee Atkinson had seven of his team-high 17 points in the third quarter. The Trojans were outscored 11-3 during the final three minutes of the period.

"South Johnston did an amazing job shooting the ball," said Eastern Wayne head coach Marvin Bowman. "We felt like we had to do something to put some pressure on the ball. We were able to force them into some traps and we picked off some passes. Sometimes, Lee gets a little complacent but as a shooter it's important that he understands that he might miss one or two but he might hit the next five."

South Johnston guard D.J. Collins sank two free throws to tie the game at 48-48 with fewer than six minutes left in regulation. Collins finished with a game-high 29 points, including 21 from beyond the 3-point line.

The Warriors responded with nine unanswered points, five of which came from little-used reserve forward Byron Thompson. Thompson gave Eastern Wayne a lift by scoring all nine of his points during the final eight minutes.

"Byron gave us a big lift," said Bowman. "We were able to move him around in the post area. That was big for us. He gave us a little cushion and I think our kids rallied around Byron and Lee."

Lamar Best's 3-point play with a little more than three minutes to play extended the lead to 60-50 and the Trojans would get no closer. Best contributed 10 points for the Warriors. Chris Andrews added nine.

South Johnston (4-14, 2-4 ECC) knocked down five 3-pointers during the first two quarters and led 28-17 late in the first half. The Trojans opened the game on a 16-2 run and had three players combine to make 10 3-pointers.

Eastern Wayne (9-5, 4-1) travels to Cleveland on Tuesday.