CCC TOURNEY: Yellow Jackets bring end to season for THS boys
Every time the Thomasville Bulldogs began to bark, Lexington tugged on the leash to keep them under control.
Twice THS made a ferocious charge, but could never quite reel in the Yellow Jackets in an 84-70 loss during first round action of the Central Carolina Conference tournament Monday. LHS moves on to host No. 2 East Davidson in a Thursday semifinal, while the Bulldogs conclude a difficult 2012-13 campaign at 6-16.
“Every time we got close, it seemed like something happened to get the crowd in it and they pulled away,” said THS head coach Tony Clark. “They are just a good team.”
Lexington led 20-13 a minute into the second quarter, and used a 8-0 run that put them up 15. Thomasville was knocked back a bit by the run, but regained its footing and dominated for the next three minutes. Cedric Green began and ended an 11-0 spurt that left the Chair City team four back. They would keep the deficit at four entering the second half.
In the third quarter, Mel Covington sent shockwaves throughout the nest at Lexington High School with a thunderous dunk that will be talked about for a long time. He drove into the heart of the lane and sent in a one-handed slam over a defender. His free throw to complete the 3-point play put Lexington up 11.
Thomasville did not let it bother them, as senior Dezmond Wilson added four points a minute later that reduced the lead to eight. But the end of the third quarter proved to be a pivotal moment. Daniel Reid Bennett drained a 3-pointer with 33 seconds left, then Raekwon Byrd came down to attempt a dunk. He missed, but Nolan Benson cleaned up with a 3-pointer of his own. In 25 seconds, the Bulldogs went from being down eight to 14.
With its season on the line, THS laced up the sneakers that much tighter and made one last effort to keep hopes alive. Green scored 11 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter with the Bulldogs charging back to only trail 71-68 with 3:35 still to go. Green had a 3-point attempt to tie, but his shot drew iron and the Jackets collected the next six points. LHS continued to pull away, going on a 13-2 run to close out the contest.
“I do not fault the effort tonight,” Clark said. “Cedric played hard tonight and displayed heart. Overall, I could not be more proud of their effort.
The season is over with and we just want to gather ourselves and get ready for next season. We have the core of the team coming back and it is really encouraging.”
Covington paced the 9-15 Jackets with 21 points. Kamel Henry had 14 and Wilson 13 for the Bulldogs.