By Derrick Mahone
As he headed to the locker room following Jonesboro's 47-37 win over North Clayton Tuesday, Cardinals forward Jordan Enadeghe was consistently congratulated by his teammates and the school's student body.
The 6-foot-3 senior only scored 11 points, but it was on the defensive end that helped the tenth-ranked Cardinals preserve the win against its Region 4-AAAA rival and avenge an earlier lost.
Jonesboro coach Dan Maehlman challenged Enadeghe to guard North Clayton's high-scoring forward Marcus Hunt, who torched the Cardinals for 47 points in the last meeting.
"When coach told me that I was guarding Marcus, I took it as a personal challenge," said Enadeghe, who also finished with five rebounds to go with his 11 points.
"The game ball goes to Jordan," Cardinals forward James White said. "He did a great job on Marcus. Overall, it was a good win for our team. We knew he (Enadeghe) could guard Marcus. We know he can guard anybody in the country."
Tuesday, he held Hunt, an all-state candidate and highly recruited player, to only nine points. It was the losing scoring total for the junior, who is averaging 25 points per game.
In the first meeting between the teams, Hunt over powered the Cardinals as several players tried to guard him, including 24 in the fourth quarter during North Clayton's comeback.
With the win, Jonesboro improves to 15-3 overall and 9-2 in the region while North Clayton dropped 11-6 and 7-4. The Cardinals remained in sole possession of second place in the region as North Clayton is in fourth.
The 6-foot-5 Hunt was held to only two field goals and was four of five from the free throw line. North Clayton was led by sophomore Devin Lewis, who came off the bench to score 10 points.
"It was a great game," Maehlman said. "What an awesome job by Jordan and our team. They did everything we ask him to do. He had some help. Jordan's teammates did a great job. Marcus Hunt is a heck of a basketball player. Their whole did plays hard."
Jonesboro was in control for the majority of the game, especially in the low-scoring first half where the Cardinals held an 18-13 halftime lead.
North Clayton begin to show some offensive spark late in the third quarter when it was able to tie the score at 23-23 with 3:02 remaining. A pair of free throws by Michael Johnson give the Eagles their first led at 25-23 with 2:18 remaining.
From there, the teams exchanged the leads several times before Jonesboro finally took control with five minutes remaining. With 4:58 remaining in the fourth, Enadeghe fouled out of the game, but most of the damage had been done.
North Clayton anemic free throw shooting prevented them from getting back into the game. The Eagles were only 10 of 15 in the fourth quarter.
"We had a good gameplan," North Clayton coach Martisse Troup said. "We got to step up. It was basically a solid game by both teams. I'm sure we will see them against down the road, probably in the region tournament."
North Clayton (girls) 59, Jonesboro 51: Miranda Cantrell scored 13 points to lead three other players in double figures as the Eagles swept the season series against their rivals.
North Clayton got 11 points from Destiny Tejada, who also made three of four free throws late in the game to perserve the win.
Jonesboro was led by sophomore Briana Benson, who had a game-high 14 points while teammate Jasmine Mitchell finished with 12 points.
The Eagles improved to 11-3 and 8-2 to remain in second place in the region as Jonesboro dropped to 9-8 and 6-5.