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Big second quarter lifts Knights past Titans

By DAVID RISLEY - drisley@thecouriertimes.com

LEWISVILLE — Coming into Wednesday night’s game against Northeastern, a Tri High School boys basketball team had not defeated the visiting Knights in the sport since Nov. 26, 2005.

That losing streak will continue for at least another season as Northeastern came into Don Schwarzkopf Gymnasium, shot 40 free throws in the contest, and defeated the Titans 73-54.

The Knights improved to 4-1 in the Tri-Eastern Conference and 12-7 overall while Tri slipped to 1-5 in the TEC and 5-11 for the season. The Titans have played four games over the past seven days including Tuesday night’s 52-47 loss at Daleville.

This game was moved up from Saturday because the Tri girls basketball team is competing in the Class A Tipton regional that day.

What happened to the Titans Wednesday was similar to what happened when they played Shenandoah the first time this season back in December — one bad quarter was the difference.

In this game, that was the second period in which Northeastern outscored the hosts 26-7 (after the teams were deadlocked 14-all after one) and Tri Coach Matt Lacy was ejected from the contest after picking up two technical fouls, the second after protesting a no-call on a Masen Phelps field goal attempt that appeared to most in the crowd to be a fairly obvious goal-tending call.

“We’ve played pretty well in the past several games even though we haven’t won,” Tri Coach Lacy said, “but we’ve had one quarter when we’ve allowed games to get away from us, and tonight that was the second quarter. We executed well in the first quarter and hit shots, but we were 0-for-9 from three-point range the second period, and most of them were open looks.”

The first quarter was tight. From a 5-all tie, the Knights zipped out to an 11-5 lead, but the Titans scored the next seven points to grab their final advantage of the night at 12-11 on a Drew Mondrush three-pointer with 1:11 left in the opening period.

Freeman Brou put the visitors ahead with a trey, but Tri’s Kyler Burchett added a basket one second ahead of the horn for that 14-14 tie at the end of the first frame.

Five players scored for the Titans in the opening stanza, led by Mondrush’s five points. Jalen Hillard and Brou tallied four points apiece for the Knights.

As noted, the second quarter was not a good one for Tri, as it shot 3-for-16 (18.8 percent) from the field and made just 1-of-3 free throw attempts.

Things didn’t look too bad early on, as Hillard and the Titans’ Elijah Davis exchanged buckets for a 16-all tie at the 7:25 mark of the period. But then, Northeastern went on a 19-3 run, capped by two charity tosses by freshman Carter Lumpkin with 1:19 remaining in the first half, to go up 35-19.

On the next trip down the court, it appeared that a Titan player had been fouled on a field goal attempt, but no call was made by the referees. The Knights grabbed possession of the ball and moved down the court before Lacy was assessed his first technical foul at the 50.4 second mark for protesting the non-call.

Lumpkin drained the two technical free throws for a 37-19 Knights advantage. The visitors turned the ball over, no call was made on Phelps’ shot, and Lacy was slapped with his second technical foul, and automatic ejection, with 14.2 seconds left in the half.

Lumpkin canned one of the two technical charity tosses and then Hillard sank two free throws with 4.2 seconds remaining for a 40-19 lead. Tri senior Nick Wilson scored on a lay-up at the buzzer and Northeastern had a 40-21 lead at intermission.

The Knights were 8-of-13 from the field and 9-for-11 from the foul stripe in the second stanza alone. Lumpkin had 10 of his team’s 26 points in the frame.

“One thing we must focus on right now is playing better defense,” Lacy explained. “When we missed threes, they (Knights) were able to get the rebound and get out on us in transition and score some easy baskets. They were more physical than us. If you’re a shooter but don’t play defense, I’ll find someone to replace you who perhaps isn’t as good a shooter but is willing to play hard on the defensive end.”

Any hopes for a Titan comeback were dashed early in the third quarter as Brou drained two charity tosses and three straight close-in baskets and Hillard added a bucket for a 10-0 run and 51-21 advantage for the visitors at the 5:43 mark of the period.

Tri got its first points of the quarter on another Mondrush three-pointer at the 5:24 mark and hacked away at the deficit until it was down to 56-35 at the end of three after another Mondrush trey. Mondrush led the hosts with six points in the frame while Brou had nine points and Lumpkin five for Northeastern.

Two Alex Melton free throws plus a bucket by Kyler Burchett, sandwiched around a pair of charity tosses by Lumpkin, pulled the Titans to within 58-39 with 5:59 remaining in the fourth quarter.

But then the Knights took off again, this time on a 12-0 run capped by freshman Kolden Vanlandingham’s second trey in the flurry, to build their lead to its zenith at 70-39 with 3:35 remaining in the contest.

Northeastern finished the rest of the game mainly with reserves, and Tri outscored the visitors 15-3 the rest of the way to account for the final 73-54 score.

“We have progressed well offensively in sharing the ball and finding the open man,” Lacy added. “When we knock down shots and play good defense, we can compete with anyone. Going forward toward the sectional, it would be nice to get another win or two under our belts to gain some confidence going into the tournament.”

Hillard and Vanlandingham scored six points apiece for Northeastern in the final period, while Phelps tallied seven points and Burchett six for the Titans.

The Knights won the battle of the boards 32-24 and both teams committed just 11 turnovers apiece, not too bad considering the pace of the contest.

Also, both teams made 21 fields goals in the game, but Northeastern needed just 40 attempts to so so (52.5 percent accuracy) while Tri used 54 (38.9 percent marksmanship).

It was at the free throw line that the Knights won this game, as the visitors swished 26 of their 40 charity tosses (65 percent). The Titans were a tad more accurate at the foul stripe, but they had just eight attempts and made six (75 percent).

Four Northeastern players scored in double digits. Brou led the way with 18 points, followed by Lumpkin 17, Hillard 14, and Vanlandingham 12. Blake Hancock pulled down a game-high seven rebounds, followed by Cole Mikesell and Brou with five apiece and Alex Reynolds with four.

Mondrush led Tri in scoring with 13 points, followed by 10 apiece from Burchett and Davis and seven each from Melton, Wilson, and Phelps. Burchett and Davis grabbed six rebounds apiece and  Wilson had five boards.

The Knights won the junior varsity game 46-27. Quantrell Gammon scored 13 points, Garrett Tudor 12, and Dalton Kinney 10 to lead Northeastern, while Evan Murphy and Dillon Stevens scored seven points apiece for the Titans.

Tri hosts Seton Catholic Tuesday.

Northeastern 73, Tri 54

NORTHEASTERN (73)

Lumpkin 4-7 9-12 17, Mikesell 1-6 0-1 2, Hillard 3-5 8-12 14, Reynolds 2-3 1-2 5, Brou 6-11 5-7 18, Vanlandingham 4-6 0-0 12, Hancock 1-2 1-4 3, Fisher 0-0 2-2 2, Mull 0-0 0-0 0, Gammon 0-0 0-0 0, White 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-40 26-40 73.

TRI (54)

Mondrush 5-7 0-0 13, Wilson 3-15 1-1 7, Burchett 4-9 1-3 10, Davis 4-8 2-2 10, Phelps 3-6 0-0 7, Melton 2-4 2-2 7, Butler 0-3 0-0 0, Smith 0-2 0-0 0, Thomas 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-54 6-8 54.

Northeastern`14`26`16`17`-73

Tri`14`7`14`19`-54

3-point goals – Northeastern 5 (Vanlandingham 4, Brou), Tri 6 (Mondrush 3, Burchett, Phelps, Melton). Rebounds – Northeastern 32 (Hancock 7, Mikesell 5, Brou 5, Reynolds 4), Tri 24 (Burchett 6, Davis 6, Wilson 5). Total fouls – Northeastern 11, Tri 27. Turnovers – Northeastern 11, Tri 11. Technical foul – Tri bench (2), Melton. Fouled out – Mondrush. JV score – Northeastern 46, Tri 27. Records – Northeastern 12-7, 4-1 TEC; Tri 5-11, 1-5 TEC.