Falcons overcome 14 blocks for 2-OT win
Top-seeded Jordan survived foul trouble by starter K.J. Alston, 14 blocked shots by Fred Iruafemi and double overtime Wednesday night to advance to the third round of the state 4-A Mideast Regional 56-48 over Apex Middle Creek.
The victory sets up an all-PAC-6 third round battle at Friday at Jordan against No. 5 seed Hillside at 7 p.m. Jordan routed Hillside 67-49 this past Friday in the PAC-6 Tournament final.
The PAC-6 champion Falcons (23-4) needed all the tenacity they could muster on defense to survive the 40-minute battle. In the end, Jordan’s defense held No. 8 seed Middle Creek (19-9) to a single field goal in the final 9:50 of regulation. Unfortunately, that one bucket — a 6-foot floater by Mustangs scoring leader Quentin Jackson — came with two seconds left in regulation and forced overtime.
Jordan held Middle Creek to just two points in the first overtime and held the Mustangs scoreless until just 51 seconds remained in the second overtime, as the Falcons finally wore out the visitors.
“It felt like a 15-round boxing match,” Jordan coach Kim Annas said after watching his Falcons scratch and claw in the bruising, physical showdown.
“I’m really pleased with the way we played,” Annas said, pointing to the defense by forward Willie Weeks and his team-highs of 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Jared Hendryx with nine points and 11 boards.
Point guard Mike Lee had seven points and led the team with three assists and tied Josh Thompson with a pair of steals.
But it was defense and big plays that won this one.
Jordan scored the final four points of the third quarter to cut an eight-point deficit to 37-33 entering the fourth, then held the Mustangs to just two free throws over the first 7:13 of the period.
But Jordan couldn’t score and trailed 40-38 when Khamari Bobbitt (nine points, nine rebounds) hit the front end of a one-and-one with 45.6 left. Weeks tied it with 25.8 left on a put-back after an Iruafemi block. John Brown stole Middle Creek’s inbound pass and was fouled with 16.8 left, hitting both free throws to give Jordan a 42-40 lead.
Alston, who returned with four fouls late in the fourth quarter, blocked a potential tying layup with 8.2 to play but Jackson hit his floater to send it to overtime moments later.
Darien Ortiz missed at the buzzer as the first overtime finished at 44-44.
Hendryx stuck in the rebound after Iruafemi’s 14th blocked shot to open the second OT scoring with 2:12 left — Jordan had held the ball most of the first two minutes as Middle Creek stayed back in a zone — and Jordan gradually pulled away.
NOTES — Middle Creek’s Jackson is the son of former N.C. State point guard Quentin Jackson. ... The 6-7 Iruafemi, a junior, dominated the inside of Middle Creek’s zone with 14 blocks and had Jordan shooters looking for him constantly. That uncertainty may have led to many of Jordan’s missed layup attempts on the night. ... Annas singled out reserve Arthur Reese for his effective play in relief of Alston. Reese had seven points, two rebounds, a block and a steal for the Falcons.
Jordan 56, Middle Creek 48, 2OT
MIDDLE CREEK — Nate Otto 3, Quentin Jackson 17, Bryson Cousins 2, Fred Iruafemi 6, Quinton Ray 11, Khamari Bobbitt 9.
JORDAN — Josh Thompson 8, Willie Weeks 14, Darien Ortiz 4, Mike Lee 7, K.J. Alston 5, Arthur Reese 7, John Brown 9, Jared Hendryx 9.
3-point FG—Middle Creek 5 (Jackson 3, Otto, Ray), Jordan 2 (Reese, Lee). Rebounds—Middle Creek 38 (Bobbitt 9), Jordan 44 (Hendryx 11, Weeks 11). Blocked shots—Middle Creek 14 (Iruafemi 14), Jordan 6 (Hendryx 4). Assists—Middle Creek 10 (Ray 4), Jordan 7 (Lee 3). Steals—Middle Creek 5 (Iruafemi 2), Jordan 5 (Lee 2, Thompson 2). Turnovers—Middle Creek 17 (Otto 6), Jordan 14 (Hendryx 4).
Records—Middle Creek 19-9, Jordan 23-4.