Friday, December 26, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> NP boys outlast Rockets

Leader sports editor

The North Pulaski Falcons closed the Red Devil Classic with a 66-56 overtime win over Catholic High on Tuesday at Jacksonville High School. The Falcons lost 61-58 to Little Rock Central in game one on Monday after leading from the opening tip until only one minute remained in the game.

Tuesday’s game was a back-and-forth affair, but North Pulaski still led throughout the fourth quarter before again having trouble closing the deal.

North Pulaski’s De’Marik Brown hit a 3-pointer with 35 seconds remaining that broke a brief tie. Catholic’s Lance Harville-Thomas then got a bucket at the other end and the Rockets fouled Isaiah Brown. He hit 1 of 2 free throws to make it a two-point game. The Falcons then fouled Harville-Thomas, who drained both free throws with seconds remaining to send the game into overtime.

“It kind of got to me a little bit,” said North Pulaski coach Roy Jackson about losing a fourth-quarter lead for the second-straight game. “The night before we lost to Central the exact same way. We didn’t knock down free throws when we had a chance to put the game away. But the kids responded to the challenge in overtime. You worry when you’re the team that lost the lead about them having the momentum.”

Catholic, however, looked spent in the extra period. Passes floated and turned into NP steals, and outside shots fell short.

“We turned up the intensity in the second half and I think our half-court and full-court trap was getting to them,” Jackson said. “And I think playing Jacksonville the night before and dealing with the same thing, their guards were just tired. You could see it in the overtime. Everything they put up fell short and we weren’t making it easy for them.”

The Falcons still didn’t shoot free throws well in the overtime, making just 4 of 9 and finishing the game 6 of 14.

“We have to shoot free throws better than that, but we have to do a better job of getting to the line than that too,” Jackson said. “We only shot five free throws in regulation. We have some kids that can shoot, but we have to have someone get some penetration and score the basketball or get to the line.”

Catholic led 25-20 at halftime but North Pulaski’s best quarter was the third, when it outscored the Rockets 23-12 to take a 43-37 lead into the final frame.

De’Marik Brown led the Falcons, 2-8, with 25 points while Isaiah Brown finished with 12. Brandon England added 10 for North Pulaski.

Harville-Thomas scored 20 for the Rockets (1-9) while Jacob Stone added 12.