After a quarter of play, a spirited Southeast Whitfield High School team had a 3-point lead and a fired up crowd behind them.
Coy Jones and Skyler Pulliam, who made the big shots that got the Raiders that early lead, kept up the pressure all game against their cross-county rivals, but the balanced attack brought by the Bruins of Northwest Whitfield proved too much for the Raiders to reckon with.
Northwest (12-3) survived a strong Southeast (2-14) start and pulled away for a 71-49 victory over the Raiders Tuesday night.
Southeast led 12-9 after the first quarter when a Jones triple late in the period gave Southeast the advantage. Pulliam hit a pair of threes early in the quarter to start Southeast quickly.
But a 12-5 opening to the second quarter, in which Jackson Harris scored eight points, gave Northwest back the lead for good.
Raider head coach called two timeouts in the second quarter as Northwest pulled away, and Pullium and Jones made a handful of tough jumpers, layups and 3-pointers to keep Southeast’s attack treading water, but the lead reached 10, 33-23, at halftime after a Peter Brock buzzer-beating 3-pointer.
Northwest pushed its advantage to 19 in the third pointer with a Hudson Gray 3-pointer, and Oliver called for another timeout to no avail. The Bruins led 55-34 after three and polished off a 71-49 victory in the fourth.
Harris led the Bruins, who had 10 players score, with 18. Harris led another spurt similar to his second-quarter outburst in the fourth quarter to eliminate any hopes of a Southeast comeback. Gray finished with 12, Dakota Blaskwell had 11 and Ramsey scored eight.
Pulliam totaled 20 for Southeast, making a trio of 3-pointers, and Jones had 17, with the two combining for 37 of Southeast’s 49 points.
Northwest hosts Heritage Friday at 8:30 p.m., and Southeast travels to Central-Carrollton Friday at 7:30 p.m.
While the Northwest boys had to contend with a spark from Southeast early, the girls game was different.
The Lady Bruins (9-4) shut out Southeast (5-10) 15-0 in the first quarter on their way to a 44-11 romp over their region rivals.
Kennedy Baker scored the first eight points of the game, and Northwest ended up with the game’s first 17 points before Southeast’s Avery Skyles broke the streak and got the Lady Raiders on the board with a free throw in the second quarter.
Johanna Ortiz managed to get past the hounding Northwest offense for a pair of scores in the second quarter, and the Lady Bruins led 32-5 at halftime.
Northwest led 40-9 after three, and ended a six-minute fourth quarter on top 44-11.
Baker matched Southeast’s point total with 11, while Beckley Manning and Lindsey Harris both scored eight.
Ortiz and Trinity Burse both scored four for Southeast.
Northwest plays Heritage at home on Friday at 7 p.m., while Southeast will be at Central-Carrollton at the 6 p.m.