By Jeffery Armstrong
The Stone Mountain boys and girls basketball teams exacted a measure of revenge Friday night, getting road wins against both North Clayton teams, tightening the race for the Region 5-AAAA West crown. Both North Clayton teams defeated Stone Mountain on the road in December.
Stone Mountain 65, North Clayton 57 (boys): The North Clayton Eagles couldn't fly away from the pesky Stone Mountain Pirates at all Friday night. Both teams made runs all through the game, but Stone Mountain (15-8, 5-3 in the subregion) made the final run to put the game away.
The spurts started in the second quarter, as seventh-ranked North Clayton (16-5, 6-2) had two separate 7-0 runs to take a 34-24 halftime lead. The Eagles scored the first basket of the third quarter for the team's biggest lead of the game, 36-24, and it looked like North Clayton was ready for the blowout. But Stone Mountain had other ideas, attacking the basket and getting offensive rebounds en route to a 10-0 run to get within two at 36-34 with 5:00 left in the third. Even though the Eagles scored two late baskets to lead 48-43 heading into the fourth quarter, the momentum seemed to be with the Pirates.
Stone Mountain got several more putbacks and layups on a 6-0 run to take a 49-48 lead with 5:24 left in the game. The Pirates never trailed again, although North Clayton cut the deficit to three points twice; once on a 3-pointer from Shawn Christian (9 points) and another time on free throws from Vincent Wood (10 points, 9 rebounds). North Clayton was outscored 22-9 in the final quarter.
Anthony Harvey led North Clayton with 19 points and Jamal Bowers chipped in 10. Jamel Sutton scored 14 points for the Pirates, followed by 12 each from Travis McKenzie and Terrell Bell and 11 from Tedrick Colson.
Stone Mountain 43, North Clayton 30 (girls): The North Clayton Lady Eagles fell into a tie for first place with Stone Mountain with their loss on Friday night. After shooting the ball well to tie the game at 19 at the half, the Lady Eagles (11-9, 7-1 in the subregion) went ice cold from the field. The Lady Pirates (18-5, 7-1) played an effective zone defense and passed the ball around until one of their players became open for an inside basket. The iron was unkind for North Clayton, as the team even missed the few layup opportunities it had in the second half. Jasmine Sykes was the only Lady Eagle in double figures with 13 points. Angelique Gray led Stone Mountain with 14 points, Leanne Watson added 12 and Ebony Washington chipped in 10.