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Quite a show: Southeast Stallions win in girls’ debut; boys fall short in OT to Eastern

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By Bob Sutton

Special to The Alamance News

The first night of high school basketball at Southeast Alamance might be difficult to top.

From the host Stallions winning the inaugural girls’ game to Eastern Alamance claiming a boys’ victory in overtime, there was no shortage of drama played out in front of a capacity crowd.

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Southeast fended off a big Eastern comeback to win 51-42 in the girls’ game.

“We talked about that (historical significance) before the game,” Southeast coach Amy Surratt said. “I think the girls’ took pride in that.”

SE head girls’ basketball coach Amy Surratt

Then came the boys’ game that was full of twists and turns before the visiting Eagles came away with a 77-72 victory to put a damper on the first-year school’s opening night.

“Best atmosphere, by far, that I’ve ever played in,” Eastern senior Michael Reaves said.

 

The girls’ game . . .

The first basket was made by Eastern’s Nicole Hester on a shot in the lane. Southeast’s first points were scored by freshman Natalie Lopez on a 3-pointer from the right corner.

The Stallions went on to lead 21-11 in the second quarter. Their lead grew to 36-22 after halftime.

Then the Eagles (2-1) poured in 13 consecutive points. Ciara Payton’s 3-pointer shifted momentum back to Southeast, and Shaniya Paylor followed with a jumper. Lopez’s 3 and another bucket from Paylor made it 46-35 with about four minutes left.

“Just want to make history,” Paylor said of the Stallions. “We all got the dog in us. … There were first-game jitters.”

Paylor, a sophomore who played last season for Southern Alamance, poured in a career-high 23 points.

Surratt, the former Southern coach, said what seemed like a long-awaited opener turned out special.

“We’ve been practicing for a while,” Surratt said. “Our girls showed some toughness. For some of the girls, this was the first time they’ve ever played a varsity game.”

The Stallions enjoyed the setting and the result on their new home court.

“It being Eastern (made it bigger),” Paylor said, noting the crowd. “Every time I looked, more people were there.”

 

The boys’ game . . .

Reaves scored seven of his 11 points in overtime as the Eagles improved to 3-0 under first-year coach Parrish Walker.

By then, this game had …

“Everything,” Southeast coach Bo Williamson said.

SE head boys’ basketball coach Bo Williamson

The first boys’ points in the gym were scored by Eastern’s Ja’vier Tinnin on a jumper from the left baseline on the game’s first shot. Southeast didn’t score until it trailed 9-0 and had called a timeout. Then Jerry Sims drained a 3-pointer at the 5:43 mark.

Jerry Sims, here after a football practice earlier this year

Eastern led 30-19 shortly after Sims picked up his third foul. But the Stallions were within 38-32 at halftime.

Southeast led for the first time on reserve Drew Easter’s three-point play with less than two minutes left in the third quarter. The Stallions led for most of the rest of regulation.

“It was a beautiful atmosphere,” Walker said, “and we felt that pressure.”

But Eastern’s Jayden Adams drove for the tying basket with about 15 seconds left in regulation. After a timeout with 7.2 to go, Southeast had three shots at taking the lead before the Eagles were saved by the buzzer.

In overtime, Reaves scored on a go-ahead drive and Jordan Matthews’ basket extended Eastern’s edge to 74-71. The teams traded free throws before Reaves made a steal and two subsequent free throws at the 4.8-second mark to seal it.

“We condition a lot,” Reaves said. “In overtime, we knew it was our time to go. We have that extra drive – and that extra drive that we didn’t want to lose.”

Adams finished with 26 points and Matthews posted 20.

“We got it back,” Walker said of recovering once overtime began. “It didn’t feel like it was ever safe.”

For Southeast, Davian Edwards poured in 22 points and Sims, despite sitting out long first-half stretches, had 18 points.

The Stallions looked to be in good shape after Sims made a steal and a difficult layup followed by Edwards’ steal and hoop for a 63-59 lead. Sims’ two free throws with 29 seconds left made it 65-63.

Williamson, a first-year coach who had been at Turrentine Middle School, was assessed a technical foul nine seconds into the second quarter – just another “first” for the Stallions.

Southeast had a late start to full practices because the school’s football team played three games in the state playoffs. The Stallions might be just getting cranked up.

“I don’t like morale victories,” Williamson said. “But I feel good walking away because now I know things I didn’t know. We’re going to be OK.”

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