The first Copeland Hardwood Classic, played Monday at Northeast, ended with a pair of cliffhangers.
Stockbridge edged Northeast 50-49 behind 20 points from Amlin Sanders in the final girls game of the day, while the Northeast boys used a 25-point outburst from Santez Kinder to defeat Stockbridge 81-78 in the finale of a six-game slate.
Every Monday we practice at 5 a.m., so I am sure that the guys werent too unhappy about playing in an event to honor Coach Copeland, Northeast boys head coach Kevin Grooms said. We ran into a very good Stockbridge team who gave us all we could handle, and I thought it was a great game to play in as well as a great game to watch. We like to play fast and Stockbridge does too, so it was a great matchup for both teams.
After spotting Stockbridge a 7-0 lead, the Raiders turned up the defense, forcing 15 first-quarter turnovers to grab a 17-10 lead. They extended that to 37-28 at the half and seemed to be on their way to an easy win. But Stockbridge, behind Nathan Greenes shooting outburst, fought back and outscored Northeast 22-15 in the quarter to close to 52-50 heading into the fourth quarter.
Greene, who ended the game with 15 points, hit all four of his 3-pointers in the third quarter.
Northeast extended the lead back up to nine at 64-55 but had to hold on at the end, thanks mainly to Tigers guard Darius Alexander, who scored 14 of his game-high 36 points in the final eight minutes.
Kinder and Wycholvia Early each scored 13 for Northeast.
The intensity in the game was great, said Kinder, who scored 16 points in the second half. We love to play fast and win with our defense, and we were able to do some good things in the game. We know we have a battle in our region to finish first, and that all begins on Tuesday against Monticello. We just want to get ready for the rest of the season.
The girls game was equally as entertaining, with Stockbridge leading 33-28 at the half and then holding on at the end. The Tigers headed into the final quarter with a 45-39 lead, but Northeast, led by point guard Rayna Porter, pulled the Raiders to within two points.
Kinisha McElroy went to the free-throw line with 11 seconds remaining and a chance to tie, but she could not get the second shot to fall after making the first.
I am not very happy with the effort, because we have to win games with defense and we did not do that in this game, said Northeast head coach Cynthia Booker, whose team went 6-of-32 from 3-point range. We are very capable of playing better than we did, and to be honest, I thought this was a game we should have won.
Zylishia Graham led Northeast with 19 points.