02/23/13 — Triton boys rally past Southern Wayne

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Triton boys rally past Southern Wayne

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on February 23, 2013 11:06 PM

A wild end to a wild night.

Nothing else could describe Triton's 58-57 win over Southern Wayne in the championship game of the Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference boys' basketball tournament Friday evening.

The top-seeded Hawks rallied from four points down in the final 56 seconds to grab their second consecutive tournament title. Triton found the gym at Eastern Wayne Middle School to its liking after a long delay caused by a leak in the roof at Eastern Wayne High School forced an impromptu venue change.

"I don't know how we found a way to win this game but we did it," Triton head coach T.J. Morrison said. "Our guys got a couple of steals late and turned them into big points."

Following a come-from-behind win over North Lenoir on Thursday night, the Hawks started the game on fire and jumped out to an 18-13 lead after one period. Southern Wayne hung around in the second quarter and cut the deficit to 31-30 at halftime.

Southern Wayne turned the tables in the second half behind Jamiel Price's hot hand and grabbed a 48-41 lead after three periods. The Saints extended the advantage on a three-point play by Angelo Burden to start the fourth period.

Everything seemed to be going Southern Wayne's way until the final two minutes.

Southern Wayne led 57-51 with 90 seconds to play when Triton's Dedrick Stacker hit a jump shot. The Saints turned the ball over on the ensuing possession and committed a foul with 56 seconds on the clock. Triton's Maurice McBryde made both free throws to pull the Hawks to within one possession.

Triton tied the game at 57-57 with 12 seconds left when Isiah McNeil grabbed a steal and made a layup.

After another failed Southern Wayne offensive effort, McNeil grabbed a loose ball near midcourt and collided with a Saint defender. The referee called a blocking foul with five seconds to go. McNeil hit the first free throw, but missed the second.

Southern Wayne got the rebound, but failed to get a quality shot from underneath Triton's basket.

"We haven't had trouble with the press all season and tonight we couldn't handle it," Southern Wayne head coach Dwight Smith said. "We had the ball in the right people's hands. We just didn't make the plays."

Price led Southern Wayne with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Ronnell Outlaw and Tarvis Bradshaw each finished with 10 points for the Saints.

Stacker paced Triton with 13 points. Alex Burnett added 12 points and nine rebounds.

Southern Wayne will play at home in the opening round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs, which begin Monday.

"I told our guys that (Triton) was going to be a good test for when the state playoffs start," Smith said. "Hopefully we will learn from tonight and we will do a better job of closing out quarters in the playoffs."