- Special Sections
- Public Notices
LELAND—North Brunswick beat South Lenoir 61-56 Monday in a first-round game of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Class 2A state playoffs.
Senior forward Brandon Weaver and senior guard Nik Sloan each scored 16 points and senior guard Adam Jacobs scored 13 for the Scorpions (17-8). Weaver suffered a leg injury late in the game, the severity of which was undetermined.
North will be the site of a second-round game Feb. 27 (foe undetermined). The Devils finish 14-11.
North led 41-28 in the second half but the Devils rallied and tied the score 45-45 with 5 minutes, 53 seconds left. The Scorpions dominated the rest of the game.
“We made some good decisions as far as taking what they gave us,” North coach Bryan Hayes said. “Nik made some big buckets. One where you’re saying, ‘No, no, no—OK.’
“It just comes down to managing a basketball game in these situations—and we have been in a lot of pressure situations this season.
“You have to be able to manage a basketball game, especially when you got the lead in the fourth quarter in the state playoffs.”
Sloan scored back-to-back baskets, putting North ahead 49-45. Junior forward J.J. Batts put back a rebound, extending the lead to 51-45 with 4:45 left.
After a score by the Devils, Weaver hit a pull-up jumper with 3:40 left, keeping North ahead by six points.
After a defensive stop, North ran its four-corner offense, with Jacobs and Sloan dribbling the ball near midcourt.
“I trust the ball being in my senior guards’ hands,” Hayes said. “I think A.J. and Nik are two of the best guards in our area, and to have them together on the court at the same time is a huge asset for us. I’m proud of them.”
The Devils fouled with 1:49 left and again with 1:36 left before finally scoring a free throw with 1:26 left, cutting the lead to 53-48. The Devils got a rebound of the missed free throw but lost the ball out of bounds with 1:20 left. On North’s possession, Batts got open for a dunk, which was missed, but he got his own rebound for a score, and that gave North a 55-48 lead.
Jaeden Phillips blocked a South Lenoir shot with 60 seconds left, and two free throws by Jacobs with 55.6 seconds left gave North a 58-50 lead, a lead the Devils were unable to overcome. North hit four of six free throws in the final 31.3 seconds to clinch the victory.
North led 19-11 after the first quarter—the highlight being a 3-pointer at the buzzer by Sloan—and lead was 31-26 at halftime.
Weaver and Jacobs helped the Scorpions build a 13-point lead in the third quarter. Weaver scored eight of North’s 13 points in the quarter. Jacobs’ defense led to two turnovers and two baskets as North took a 41-28 lead.
“One thing that really helped us out tonight was that A.J. did not get in foul trouble early, which allowed him to be a little bit more aggressive in the third quarter,” Hayes said.
“He got a couple of steals, a couple of easy buckets, and that was where we were able to get that lead.”
Other North scorers: Terrence Brown had seven points, Batts four, Jabril Robinson three, Phillips two.