Racing out to an early lead almost did in the visiting team at the Texas High School Coaches Association basketball All-Star game, but the North held on for a 118-101 win over the South on Monday at the Alamo Convocation Center.
The North jumped to a 10-point lead in the opening minutes and held a 37-16 lead after one period.
“I thought they were going to come out a little stronger,” said North point guard Erick Neal, a UTA signee from Dallas Lincoln. “The lead got up so quick. It felt good. I thought we could do that the whole game.”
The 5-foot-10 Neal did his part, showing a deft passing touch and some nifty dribbling skills. He finished with nine points, six assists, four steals, two blocks and one turnover in 18 minutes.
Fort Worth Dunbar’s Dennis Jones added 10 points and two assists.
The North led by 18 at halftime and extended that lead to 74-44 early in the third period.
“They came out on fire,” said forward Bryson Gates, an Abilene Christian signee from Fairfield. “They didn’t miss a shot until like halfway through the first quarter.”
South 3-pointers finally began to fall in the middle of the third period. The South finished 10 for 52 on 3s, while the North finished 9 for 31.
“They started turning it up and got the momentum,” Neal said. “I was like ‘Man we’ve got to get some stops.’ ”
A putback by St. Mary’s signee Skyler Brooks with 7:40 left pulled the South to within 90-82, but the North prevailed by making 8 of 11 free throws in the final four minutes.
“I believed in my team,” Neal said. “We had been going hard in practice so I felt we could get the lead back up and play D.”
• Xavier Adams of Marcus, a New Mexico signee, won the slam dunk contest.
• Burkburnett guard Elijah Stickland won the 3-point shootout.