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Firebirds seal tie for second place

Firebirds fight off Gryphons in double OT

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FRANKLINTON — The visiting Southern Nash High varsity boys basketball team bounced back from a slow start to clinch a tie for second place in the 3-A Big East Conference regular season with a 61-52 triumph against Franklinton on Friday night.

The Firebirds took the lead in the third quarter — when they outscored the Red Rams, 15-8.

Head coach Robbie Kennedy’s Firebirds finished 6-4 in the Big East, tied with Fike, and enters the conference tournament at 14-8 against all foes. Franklinton wound up winless (0-10) in the league and finished the regular season at 2-20.

Sophomore Chason Royal poured in a career-high 27 points for Southern Nash and senior Darius Edmundson, the team’s leading scorer, bucketed 12.

In a 3-A Big East Conference boys race where the second-place team will have no fewer than three losses, a logjam in the middle of the league is almost a certainty. Therefore, when Southern Nash polished off a season sweep of Hunt with a torrid display of 3-point shooting, it gave the Firebirds (12-8, 4-4 Big East) a powerful weapon in the battle for seeding in the conference tournament against the Warriors (12-6, 4-3 Big East).

“The other thing we talked about was getting the sweep of them,” Southern Nash head coach Robbie Kennedy said. “The way our conference is two through five, it’s bunched. We’re 4-4, Hunt’s 4-3 and Fike was 4-3 (now 5-3) heading into tonight. Rocky Mount is 2-4 (now 2-5). So if you can get a tiebreaker on somebody, that can be big with the conference standings. Hunt still has to play Northern Nash and Fike...that tiebreaker is pretty big.”

Southern Nash and Fike could share second place with Hunt — if Hunt upsets Northern Nash this Friday.

The host Southern Nash High varsity boys basketball team kept alive its hopes of a runner-up, regular-season finish in the 3-A Big East Conference by outlasting Rocky Mount, 78-74 in double overtime Feb. 5.

The Firebirds climbed into a tie for third place at 5-4 and trail second-place Hunt (5-3) by a half-game.

Another tough loss left the Gryphons 2-6 in the Big East and 12-8 in all games.

Southern Nash finally seized the lead for keeps in the second over time on a 3-pointer from senior Artavius Allen. The Firebirds protected the margin with effective work at the foul line.

The game went into overtime when Southern Nash missed a layup at the buzzer. Both teams spurted in the first extra period of four minutes, but neither could pull away.

Senior Darius Edmundson triggered the Firebirds with 25 points. Sophomore Chason Royal tossed in 19 points while Allen bucketed 16.