OLIN—For the second time in two North Piedmont Conference meetings this season, Statesville and North Iredell treated their fans to a matchup that wasn’t lacking excitement.
The Greyhounds survived the thriller Tuesday night, avenging a 54-53 loss last month by triumphing 72-66 in overtime.
“My blood pressure is sky high,” Statesville coach Sonny Schofield said.
Statesville (14-5, 5-2) erased a six-point deficit with 2 minutes left in regulation to send it to four minutes of bonus basketball and then outscored the Raiders (9-12, 4-3) 10-4 in OT.
The Greyhounds got the defensive stops they needed and made 7 of 8 free throws over the course of the final 1:53 of the extra period to win on a night when the teams entered tied for second place in the conference.
“Great ballgame,” acknowledged North Iredell coach Jeff LeVan. “Tough one to lose.”
The Raiders appeared to be in the driver’s seat, leading 59-53 with 1:57 to go in the fourth and momentum on their side.
Not waiting for a backcourt violation on Statesville, North Iredell guard John Jackson won a race to the ball on an errant pass. He scored to give the Raiders a 57-53 advantage.
A few seconds later, the Greyhounds turned the ball over again. It led to a Beckham Tharpe two-handed jam that sent the home crowd into a frenzy. Statesville burned a timeout.
“I was going to call a timeout after that first turnover but was like, ‘Nah, let’s try to play through it,’” Schofield said. “That was my fault. It’s best to listen to your instincts sometimes.”
To their credit, the Greyhounds didn’t let the North Iredell run or the crowd noise get to them.
Chris Brown tied the game at 62 with 15 seconds left in regulation when he drove to the basket and scored, drew contact and completed a three-point play with his subsequent free throw.
Jackson’s drive and potential game-winning shot at the end went off the side of the backboard. Statesville rebounded but was unable to get off a shot, and the contest went to overtime.
The Greyhounds sensed new life and took advantage.
“Seize the moment,” Schofield said when asked about the key heading into OT. “We fought our way back in. Let’s do the best we can and do it intelligently.”
Brown scored a game-high 25 points. He also pulled down seven rebounds and dished out three assists.
Miykei Fields added 17 points. The senior had nine of those in overtime, including seven from the charity stripe.
Jackson Hawkins pumped in 20 points to lead North Iredell. The sophomore drained three consecutive 3-pointers during a 10-2 run in the third quarter that propelled the Raiders to a 42-35 advantage.
“You can’t leave him alone,” Schofield said. “If you leave him you can almost count it (going in).”
With the victory, Statesville moved into a share of the NPC lead with West Rowan (11-8, 5-2), which lost 60-58 to South Iredell on Tuesday.
The Falcons’ loss keeps the Raiders in the conference championship hunt, too. They’re only one game back of Statesville and West Rowan entering the homestretch of the regular season.
“Still doable,” LeVan said. “I know we all feel bad about this one. We’re still right in the thick of it.”
Summers leads Statesville past Raiders in girls’ game
Emily Myers’ fourth 3-pointer of the night for North Iredell tied the game at 30 with 4 minutes, 25 seconds left.
But Ayana Summers responded with a personal 6-0 run and Statesville (5-14, 2-5) held on from there for a 40-31 North Piedmont Conference victory.
Summers scored 13 of her game-high 18 points in the second half.
Myers’ 12 points paced the Raiders (3-18, 0-7).
The Greyhounds led 20-13 at halftime thanks to a 10-2 spurt to close the second quarter. Kaneycha Turner’s old-fashioned three-point play capped the run.
North Iredell fell behind by as many as nine in the second half but chipped away at the deficit.
Myers’ final 3, on an assist from Skylin Guill, evened the score, but the Raiders were unable to retake the lead.
Bailey Barzee added nine points and seven rebounds for North Iredell. Jewel Allen chimed in with seven points and six rebounds.
Taylor Wilson and Turner supplied five points each for the Greyhounds, who swept the conference series.
Statesville 72, North Iredell 66 (OT)
STATESVILLE (72): Chris Brown 25, Miykei Fields 17, Gathings 8, Holland 7, Hamilton 5, Coleman 5, Robinson 3, Miller 2.
NORTH IREDELL (66): Jackson Hawkins 20, John Jackson 14, Beckham Tharpe 14, Saunders 9, Turner 8, Coltrane 1.
Statesville 40, North Iredell 31
STATESVILLE (40): Ayana Summers 18, Wilson 5, Turner 5, Hoffman 4, Bailey-Scott 3, Keaton 3, Bowman 2.
NORTH IREDELL (31): Emily Myers 12, Barzee 9, Allen 7, Gwo 2, Guill 1.