The Nation Ford and Lewisville boys claimed wins in the third round of the 14th annual Lindberg Moody Holiday Classic on Saturday at Northwestern High School.
Nation Ford’s win put its in the fifth place game on Monday, while Lewisville’s victory was its first in the four-day tournament.
The Northwestern Trojans, who won easily in the first two rounds, played Saturday night for the right to take on Charlotte’s United Christian for the championship on Monday night at 8:30 p.m. The Trojans’ game was not complete at press time.
• Nation Ford won for the second time in the tournament with a 75-46 victory over the Denmark-Olar Vikings.
The Falcons struggled in the early going. Denmark-Olar led 9-7 at the midway point in the first quarter, but Nation Ford tied the count at 13 when Riley Hilton scored on a layup.
With just more than two minutes left in the first quarter, Nation Ford coach Michael Tew called a timeout, and when play resumed a different Nation Ford team played the rest of the game.
“I called the time out because we needed to have a little talk,” said Tew. “We were getting split off the dribble, and we were not getting in the passing lanes.”
When the first quarter was over Nation Ford led 19-16 behind Hilton’s 15-point effort.
The surge continued into second quarter as the Falcons outscored Denmark-Olar 24-9 to take a commanding 43-25 lead at intermission. Hilton led the charge with nine more of his game-high 29 points.
The Falcons continued the aggressive play in the third quarter, outscoring the Viking 18-11 for a 61-36 lead.
“We shared the ball better after the first quarter,” said Tew. “In addition we played a whole lot better on defense. Our defensive intensity picked up after our talk, and that resulted in some easier baskets for us.”
The Falcons got balanced scoring from 12 different players.
“It was good to get some quality playing time for a lot of our players,” Tew said. “We have pretty much got our rotation down, but you never know when foul trouble will require you to go to the bench.”
Nation Ford improved to 6-5 on the year with the win. Mike Campbell joined Hilton in double figures with 12 points, while Dalton Rose chipped in eight.
• Lewisville toppled the Bethesda Academy Blazers (Savannah, Ga.) 45-41.
The Blazers led in the early going and maintained its advantage with a 16-12 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Lions regrouped in the second period and pulled to 22-21 by halftime.
The third quarter saw Lewisville outscore the Blazers 17-7 to take a 38-29 lead when the buzzer sounded. The Lions were clinging to a 26-22 lead two minutes into the quarter, when Cody Montgomery scored on a pair of layups and Jarris Elder nailed a four-footer to highlight a 12-5 run that resulted in the lead at the end of the third quarter.
The Blazers came back in the final period and cut it to 42-37 with 3:04 to play when Kearston Berksteiner scored on a 10-foot jump shot.
After the teams traded baskets, Berksteiner converted a pair of free throws and the Lions’ lead was down to 44-41 with 1:24 left.
The Lions went to the motion offense. It produced the desired results in free throw attempts. The Lions missed the front end of three one-and-one foul shots, but the defense was tough and got the ball back each time.
With 13 seconds left Montgomery nailed the second of a two-shot foul for a 45-41 lead, and the Lions won for the first time this season.
“This was a huge win for us,” said Lewisville coach George Wilmore. “We are growing up, and I have seen progress every day with this team.”
Montgomery led the Lions with 15 points. Elder joined him in double figures with 11, while Marcus McCullough and Obbie Sarduy added seven and six respectively. Shawn Deloach led Bethesda with 14 points, while Berksteiner added 10.
The Lions have played a very difficult schedule thus far with most of the opposition coming from higher classifications.
‘This early schedule will help us in the long run,” added Wilmore. “We have not backed down, and we will not back down. We continue to improve. We have not turned the corner yet, but we are getting there.”
There were several other area teams playing in tournaments across the two Carolinas on Saturday.
In the Cherokee Classic in Asheville, N.C., the Rock Hill girls won, while the boys were defeated.
The Rock Hill girls defeated Highlands 58-34 in the second round of play. They will play on Monday at 3:30 p.m.
The Rock Hill boys lost to Erwin 78-67. The Bearcats will take on Highlands on Monday at 2 p.m.
At the Upward Classic in Spartanburg, Washington County edged the South Pointe Stallions 53-51.
At the Poinsettia Classic in Greenville the Fort Mill Yellow Jackets topped Strom Thurmond 62-57 in overtime. The Yellow Jackets led 31-22 at half and held on for the victory.
The Northwestern girls won in the second round of the Carolina Classic in Charleston. The Trojans defeated the ninth-ranked Spartanburg Vikings 55-48 to move into the championship game on Sunday at 2 p.m.