02/18/12 — Triton boys stop Southern Wayne

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Triton boys stop Southern Wayne

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 18, 2012 11:11 PM

ERWIN -- Southern Wayne couldn't overcome its slow start, nor could it corral Triton's strong offensive attack Friday evening.

The Saints misfired on their first nine possessions of the game and managed to rally late, but dropped a 63-54 decision to the Hawks in the 2012 Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference boys' tournament championship game Friday evening.

"Early on we spotted them too many points and they came out on fire," said SW head coach Russell Stephens. "I thought, offensively, we needed to slow it down a little bit because they were playing at a high level."

Outside shots that favored Southern Wayne in victories over North Lenoir and South Johnston didn't materialize against Triton. The Hawks scored eight of the game's first 10 points, weathered a short surge and owned an 11-point lead at the break.

The second-seeded Saints (18-7 overall) committed eight first-half turnovers and were limited to a season-low 16 points.

Ronnell Outlaw's 3-pointer ignited Southern Wayne, which pulled to within 31-25 midway through the third quarter. The top-seeded Hawks (23-3) responded with five straight points that came off back-to-back offensive rebounds.

"We kept fighting back, but every time we'd make a run, we'd have a turnover and they'd hit a big shot," said Stephens. "We'd go to the free throw line and couldn't cash in, too, and they just made plays down the stretch. You have to credit them for finishing the job.

"There was no quit in our guys tonight."

Jamiel Price pumped in 17 of his game-high 19 points in the second half, while Outlaw collected 16 of his 18 points in the final two quarters. The Saints shot 9 of 20 at the free throw line and committed 18 turnovers.

Maurice McBryde drained 7 of 8 fourth-quarter free throws and shared team-high scoring honors (15 points) with Tony McNeill. The Hawks were 16 of 24 at the stripe and finished with 15 turnovers.