After getting outscored by 17 in the third quarter, the Person High men’s basketball team caught fire in the fourth quarter to outlast Northern Guilford, 63-60.
Person (4-8, 2-2) made its mark in the first quarter, outscoring the Nighthawks (5-7, 3-1) 20-8. JaSiel Bumphus scored five of his seven points in the first, while Tae Bailey, Dre Newman, Zion Norwood, Nathan Young, and Ty Outlaw all registered three points each.
“I think this was our best start to a game this season,” said Person head coach Charles Dacus. “We came out with a lot of energy, even when we made substitutions in the first half. Nathan and Zion came in and hit big threes for us. We were playing really solid defense, limiting them to one shot. I was stressing we’ve got to get off to better starts in games than we have in the past.”
The Rockets scored 15 points in the second quarter, but Northern started to creep back into the game, scoring 21 points of their own to trim the Person lead to six at the break. The tables turned in the third quarter, as the Nighthawks went on an 11-0 run to start the second half on the way to outscoring Person 20-4. Newman and forward Jaylen Black had the Rockets’ four points in the third.
“We didn’t start the third quarter as well and allowed them to get a lead,” said Dacus. “They shot the ball really well in the third, and we had to change the tempo a little bit in the fourth quarter, which worked out in our favor. They were doing a really good job of screening our zone and getting some open shooters. We were also giving up offensive rebounds during that stretch.”
After Northern’s big third quarter, Dacus had a message to his players that seemed to help them lock in and re-gain their composure.
“After the third quarter ended, we just talked about how we’re still in the game. We just had to do better and take care of the little things, which we did down the stretch.”
In the fourth quarter, it was the Rockets who got off to a hot start. In the first 35 seconds, Bailey hit two consecutive three-pointers to close the gap to 50-45. After going back-and-forth for almost five minutes, junior forward Ridge Clayton came up with a block with 2:23 remaining to set up a Tae Bailey three-pointer eight seconds later, which tied the scored at 55. Junior forward Terrance Thompson gave Person a 57-55 lead with 1:18 remaining, and Bailey hit four consecutive free throws in the last 14.3 seconds to salt the game away..
“Sometimes when he gets us into our sets and our offensive flow, he doesn’t get the ball back,” Dacus said. “Tonight, they were finding him, he was able to knock down some big shots. He sealed the game at the free throw line.”
In the fourth quarter, Bailey scored 16 (four three-pointers) of his game-high 24 points. Newman was the only other Rocket to score in double-figures, as he recorded 11 points on the night. Person had seven other players score on the night, as Bumphus dropped seven, Thompson posted six, Outlaw registered five, Norwood and Young contributed three each, while Clayton and junior forward Jaylen Black had two each to round out the scoring.
The Rockets’ game against McMichael last night was not over before presstime for this edition.