12/12/12 — North Lenoir erases deficit, wins ECC 3-A boys' opener

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North Lenoir erases deficit, wins ECC 3-A boys' opener

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on December 12, 2012 1:47 PM

PIKEVILLE -- With his team trailing by 12 points at halftime on the road in its Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference opener, North Lenoir head coach Anthony Lofton pleaded with his players to get stops defensively.

The Hawks cranked up their defensive intensity in the second half and knocked down multiple big shots on their way to escaping with a 70-67 win at Charles B. Aycock on Tuesday evening.

North Lenoir, which trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half, was led by Jauquez Jones' game-high 28 points.

The Golden Falcons turned defensive rebounds and Hawks' turnovers into transition opportunities and easy baskets throughout the first half. Michael Williams' jump shot late in the second quarter gave Aycock its biggest lead of the game, 38-24. Williams finished with 23 points and 13 rebounds.

North Lenoir (5-3 overall, 1-0 ECC) increased its ball pressure in the second half, which led to Golden Falcons' turnovers. The Hawks also crashed the defensive boards to limit Aycock's second-chance opportunities.

"I had confidence the guys could come back and play solid," Lofton said. "Aycock was tremendous in the first half. I think our press finally got to them. When you get down like that, I told our guys you have to make stops and then make a play on offense.

"I'm proud of the kids for the way they played."

Jones' jump shot early in the fourth quarter tied the game at 58-58 and the Hawks took their first lead, 62-60, on Zongio Troy's 3-pointer with fewer than 5 1/2 minutes to play. Jones hit six 3-pointers for the game.

"I think they lost Jauquez a couple of times coming off some screens," Lofton said. "He can really shoot the basketball. He's just a junior and I thought he made some big plays for us."

Shakel Powell's 3-pointer with 35 seconds left pulled Aycock to within 68-67.

North Lenoir missed the front end of three consecutive one-and-one situations in the final 35 seconds before Powell was fouled with nine seconds to play. Powell missed the front end of the one-and-one and North Lenoir grabbed the rebound.

"A couple of times late in the game we didn't execute very well," Aycock head coach Steve Moats said. "We had set plays that didn't work out for us. We missed some opportunities."

Troy sank a pair of free throws with two seconds left and the Golden Falcons failed to get off a shot on their final possession. Troy scored 10 points and Powell contributed 11 for Aycock.

The Golden Falcons (4-5, 0-1 ECC) visit Greene Central tonight, while North Lenoir travels to South Lenoir on Friday.