Oldham’s dominance, clutch plays make difference in Jordan-Matthews’ 62-59 win over Seaforth

The Jets have won three of their last four games.


In what seemed to be an evenly matched Mid-Carolina 1A/2A bout, Jordan-Matthews edged out a 62-59 home victory over Seaforth Friday.

Both teams entered the game holding a 5-7 overall record and a 2-3 conference record. But for head-to-head rights in conference standings, the difference between the two teams showed in the paint and in the game’s final minutes.

Seaforth didn’t have an answer for Jordan-Matthews’ junior forward Brennen Oldham as he dominated the interior in a 25-point, 20-rebound and 7-block performance.

“We can’t say enough about (Oldham),” Jordan-Matthews head coach Rodney Wiley said. “Once he gets it down low, he’s tough. They kept giving him the ball, and he kept producing.”

Oldham and the Jets weren’t as productive as Seaforth to start the game, however.

Led by junior Nate Emerson’s perfect first quarter in which he made all four shot attempts and all three of his free throws for 12 points, Seaforth got off to a hot start and led, 23-13, at the end of the period.

Jordan-Matthews struggled to convert open looks, even the ones at the rim. But, when the Jets applied more defensive pressure with the press in the second quarter, turnovers opened up Jordan-Matthews’ offense.

Fast breaks and a more up-tempo, downhill style of play prompted a Jordan-Matthews run including an emphatic dunk from Oldham that brought the Jets within four points during the second quarter. Shortly after, a three from senior Kelton Fuquay gave the Jets a small lead.

With senior Neil Wiley’s intense ball pressure on Seaforth’s guards and Oldham’s stellar rim protection in half court sets, Seaforth’s offense slowed significantly. Yet, the Hawks were still able to tie the game at 30 going into halftime.

“Halftime (message) was to just get out and just guard,” Wiley said. “We knew coming in that that’s something we’ve been doing here lately, just getting out and guarding people. We wanted to continue to do that…and get the ball inside to (Oldham).”

As Oldham continued to dominate with post scoring and controlling the boards, Seaforth senior Kooper Jones returned the favor with some aggressive drives of his own. Jones scored 14 of the Hawks’ 29 second half points with some strong finishes down low and some success from three.

Seaforth and Jordan-Matthews entered the fourth quarter tied at 41, and the game remained a tight battle until the Jets began to pull away midway through the final period.

Through a continuation of Oldham’s interior presence alongside some key buckets from Wiley and Fuquay, Jordan-Matthews built an eight-point lead in the game’s final minutes. A well-run play in which Wiley crossed a defender, drove down the lane and dropped a dime to Oldham for an and-one opportunity seemed to be the dagger.

“We do that in practice all the time,” Neil Wiley said. “Wednesday, we were doing that all practice and communicating, so we already had the game plan since it was a mismatch all game.”

However, the Hawks didn’t lay down with the odds stacked against them. After being down 57-51 with 59 seconds remaining, Seaforth cut the deficit to 61-56 with 11 seconds to go.

After Seaforth turned the Jets over on an in-bound play, Jones hit a corner three to bring Seaforth to within two with just a few ticks left.

The Hawks fouled freshman Raje Torres on the ensuing possession, but he hit a crucial free throw to put the Jets’ lead back to three. Torres missed the second, but a clutch rebound from Fuquay closed the game out.

With the win, the Jets are now on their best stretch of the season, winning three of their last four games.

Jordan-Matthews will host Cummings in a conference rematch Friday. Cummings scraped by the Jets in December, 53-51.

“We’re happy for the team,” Wiley said. “Going forward, we just want to build on this. We want to continue to build on our defense and hopefully that ball will start going in the basket for us.”