The Jags improve to 7-8 overall and 4-5 in region play while North Clayton drops its third straight game to fall to 9-8, 6-4. Spalding is in fifth place in the Division B standings while North Clayton is in third place.
The Jags fell behind early due to the hot shooting of the Eagles. North Clayton guard Stafan Bradley came out on fire, scoring his team’s first 8 points. Bradley scored 17 points in the first quarter alone to help the Eagles sprint to a 26-18 advantage at the end of the period.
Spalding rallied in the second quarter, playing fundamentally sound basketball and outscoring the Eagles 19-12 to only trail 38-37 at the half.
Spalding took control of the game in the second half. Jags head coach Kemo Spear substitutes his players in waves and that seemed to wear North Clayton down, especially with the Jags moving the ball crisply. They found Spalding post player Jequarrian Berry for several inside baskets in the third quarter.
The quarter started with a 3-point play from North Clayton’s Reginald Scurry to give the Eagles a 41-37 lead. Spalding then got a 3-pointer from Markee Dickerson and a rebound basket from Xeryous Dewberry to give the Jags their first lead of the game at 42-41. Berry scored 8 points in the third to keep the lead for the Jags, but the Eagles rallied to get within 52-49 with 1:07 left in the quarter. Spalding’s Omari O’Neal then sank a trey to put the Jags up 55-49, which led to a 58-52 lead heading into the final quarter.
Bradley scored six straight points for North Clayton to start the fourth quarter, tying the game at 58. But Spalding went on a 5-0 run to counter the Eagles, taking a 63-58 lead minutes later. The Eagles made runs, but Spalding had an answer for each NC run. Cameron Johnson made two outstanding passes to Berry for layups to give the Jags a 69-61 lead with 4:37 left and Alex Bonner sank two big jumpers for a 73-68 Jags lead two minutes later.
North Clayton cut the lead to 73-70, but Spalding’s O’Neal (9 points) had a tip-in and a nice layup to give the Jags a 77-70 lead, pretty much sealing the game and ending their losing streak.
Bradley led all scorers with 34 points, including 11-of-11 from the free throw line, and Devin Lewis chipped in 10 points for the Eagles. Berry led Spalding with 17 points, Johnson added 11, Terence Brittian scored 9 and Bonner and Dewberry chipped in 8 points each for the Jags, who host Upson-Lee Friday at 7:30 p.m.