Scorpions emphatically end drought
Fri. February 15, 2013 at 9:00 p.m. | By Powell Latimer | StarNews Staff Writer
Brandon Weaver and North Brunswick raced past South Columbus in the second half to win the Waccamaw Conference regular-season title
LELAND | South Columbus was cold on Friday night, and Nik Sloan was scorching hot.
Sloan poured in a game-high 28 points to spur North Brunswick to a 64-37 win against South Columbus and secure the Scorpions' first conference championship since 2001.
"It's very big," Sloan said. "It's been over 10 years and we've been wanting this since we were freshmen. Coach Hayes said he's been waiting on this squad, because this is the one."
North Brunswick maintained a slim lead through a sloppy first half, with neither team shooting better than 35 percent from the floor. But Hayes felt his team could do better.
"I said ‘Go for the throat,' if I can say that," Hayes said. "I told them to stop kicking them in the shins, stop punching them in the arms, let's go for it. Let's see if we can get 10 first, then see if we can get it to 15."
The Scorpions listened. North Brunswick had four steals in the opening two minutes of the third quarter. When South Columbus closed to within three points, North Brunswick answered with a knockout blow: a 20-3 run to close the third quarter and blow the game open.
North Brunswick converted the steals and turnovers into easy buckets throughout the second half. The Scorpions shot a blistering 66 percent in the second half and Sloan shot 10-14 for the game.
"We got a lot of hands in the passing lanes, a lot of tip-out run-outs," Hayes said. "And that's fun basketball."
While North Brunswick enjoyed a layup line in the second half, nothing came easy for South Columbus. The Stallions shot just 31 percent for the game and neither Leroy Miller nor Pharoah McKever finished with double figure scoring.
Despite McKever's size advantage, North Brunswick limited second-chance points for the Stallions. North Brunswick outrebounded South Columbus 30 to 22 and South Columbus didn't have an offensive rebound in the second half.
With the win, North Brunswick secures not only a bye in the Waccamaw Conference Tournament, but also at least two home games in the 2A NCHSAA playoffs. Hayes said his team is still looking to win the Waccamaw Conference Tournament to ensure a high seed, especially after having to make a few lengthy road trips last year in the playoffs.
"It does feel good," Hayes said. "But the playoffs are a very finicky situation. It feels good but that's not enough. We would rather play here."
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