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Scorpions reach third round of playoffs

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By Sam Hickman, Sports Correspondent

 

LELAND—Adam Jacobs scored 19 second-half points to lead North Brunswick to a 63-47 victory over Cummings in the second round of the NCHSAA Class 2A state basketball playoffs Feb. 27.

Jacobs, a senior guard who was held to five points before halftime, watched as Cummings trimmed its 10-point deficit at intermission to four late in the third period. Jacobs highlighted a 10-2 run to close the frame as the Scorpions built the lead to 13 heading into the fourth.

Jacobs buried three midrange jumpers and capped the spurt with a 3 from the right wing as time expired, staking North to a 44-31 edge with eight minutes separating it from a date in the third round. Jacobs scored 11 points in the quarter, with nine of those coming in the final three minutes.

“Get the ball and score,” Jacobs said of his mentality after Cummings cut the lead to four. “Nik (Sloan) had just been taken out the game and he’s our other main scorer. I knew my team needed me. I felt like they needed me to step up.”

Scorpions’ head coach Bryan Hayes lauded his senior leader for his playmaking abilities when his team needed it most.

“Big players make big plays. We’ve been going to him all season about looking to score more effectively,” Hayes said. “Basketball is a game of momentum. When you see that ball go in and you’re a great player, you just build on that enthusiasm. We worked very hard at getting (the lead) back to double-digits at the end of the third. It was huge.”

North Brunswick built its advantage to as many as 17 in the fourth and Cummings was unable to close to 10 in the final eight minutes as the Scorpions reached the third round for the second consecutive year.

“We’re not surprised by this,” said Hayes, whose team won the regular season Waccamaw 2A/3A Conference championship. “This is our goal every year. I want each time I coach to achieve something different.

“We’re one game away from regionals. Who knows what can happen if we get there? The third-round was a goal and we reached it. We worked hard for this one.”

While Jacobs struggled to find his rhythm offensively during the first half, the Scorpions received a big boost from Jaeden Phillips, who scored nine points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the first half alone.

The Scorps were playing without forward Brandon Weaver, who scored 16 points in a first-round win over South Lenoir before injuring his knee in the game’s waning minutes.

Hayes said it was critical for his squad to get offensive production from Phillips (nine points) and guard Terrence Brown, who finished with 12. The always-steady Sloan also finished with 12. Jabril Robinson (four points) and J.J. Batts (two) were other scorers for North.

Tevin Smith led all Cummings’ players were 14, while backcourt-mate Dedric Bowman netted 13 with 12 of those coming in the second half. Center Josh Murray, who stands at 6-foot-9 and tallied eight blocks, scored nine.

North’s season ended Friday in an 83-72 loss to Northside in Jacksonville. North finishes 18-9. Northside, 25-3 and the top seed, advances to the East Regional in Fayetteville.