East Lincoln pulled away in the latter stages for a 64-52 victory over Forest Hills on Saturday in the N.C. 2A boys’ Western Regional final.
The Mustangs (28-0) led most of the way, but the Yellow Jackets (28-3) put a scare into them midway through the third quarter, taking a 36-35 lead on a basket by Desmond Lindsey off a pass from Tyrese Barbour.
It was 38-37 in favor of Forest Hills when East Lincoln’s Chazz Surratt went to work. He started by sinking a 3-pointer and followed with two field goals and a free throw.
By the time the Yellow Jackets caught their breath, they trailed 45-37.
East Lincoln will play for the 2A state championship Saturday in Chapel Hill, the second consecutive year the Mustangs have made it to the final.
Three who mattered
▪ East Lincoln’s Sage Surratt. He led all scorers with 32 points and was especially unstoppable during the first quarter when he was 6-of-6 from the field.
▪ East Lincoln’s Chazz Surratt. He dominated the third quarter, when he scored 13 of his 17 points.
▪ Forest Hills’ Jordan Blakeney. Blakeney finished with 13 points, pacing a gutsy effort by the Yellow Jackets.
▪ Forest Hills looked nervous early, falling behind 13-4 before the game was four minutes old.
▪ Forest Hills was 7-of-23 from 3-point range.
▪ East Lincoln held a 36-31 rebounding advantage and shot an impressive 54 percent from the field.
They said it
▪ “It’s a real pleasure to have two guys that know how to play the game,” East Lincoln coach Neil Hodges, referring to the Surratt brothers, Sage and Chazz.
▪ “We knew they had a lot of shooters, that they’d try to beat us on the perimeter,” East Lincoln’s Sage Surratt.
▪ “I definitely tried to get to the hole when it started getting close,” East Lincoln’s Chazz Surratt, of his play after Forest Hills took a third-quarter lead.
▪ “The Surratt brothers are the first thing you think of (when it comes to East Lincoln basketball). But they show a lot of other stuff, too,” Forest Hills coach Matt Sides.