Raptors erupt late to steal CTH title from Bears

BY DON BEANE, News + Record Staff
Posted 2/22/19

DURHAM — For three quarters, Chatham Central appeared poised and ready to claim the 1A Central Tar Heel Conference regular season crown here on Friday night in Durham.

Then the unthinkable …

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Raptors erupt late to steal CTH title from Bears

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Posted

DURHAM — For three quarters, Chatham Central appeared poised and ready to claim the 1A Central Tar Heel Conference regular season crown here on Friday night in Durham.

Then the unthinkable happened.

In shocking fashion, Research Triangle (20-3) erupted for 34 points in the fourth quarter to storm back to a 10-point second half deficit on the way to a 77-73 victory over Central.

With the win, the Raptors take the CTH regular season crown with a 12-2 mark while Chatham Central closes with at 11-3 in the league.

For the Bears, it was a gut wrenching loss after the locals led the contest from the 5:43 mark of the opening period until the 5:16 mark of the fourth quarter.

Trailing 4-3 early, Chatham Central used a 16-9 run to end the opening period behind a trey each from Jamieon Degraffenreaidt and Hayden Nall, and five points from Michael Moore, and four from Jarious Cheek.

Beau Bryant had six points, including a trey, and Jalin Burris a three-pointer for Research Triangle in the opening period.

The contest went back and forth in the second, with the Raptors pulling close only to see the Bears fend off the hosts time and time again.

Cheek scored on an easy lay in to start the period to send CC in front 21-13 before the Research Triangle came back with a three-point play from Elliot Klappenbach, and a two handed slam from 6’7 Keegan Itejere.

Despite a three-point play from Moore for Central, the Raptors used a 13-5 run highlighted by baskets from Itejere, Josh McLaurin and Bryant to even the score at 26-all with 3:15 remaining in the half.

But Riley Lagenor would collect six points in the final minutes of the half to send the Bears into the intermission with a 34-31 advantage.

After an Itejere basket just :18 seconds into the third quarter drew the Raptors within 34-33, the Bears went on a 9-0 run started by two foul shots by Lucas Sketrick, a trey from Lofton Dodson, and culminated by a pair of Moore charity tosses at the 5:45 mark to give the locals a tie for the biggest lead of the game at 43-33.

Cheek would score four of his six points in the period in the closing 5:45, but the Raptors ended the quarter on a 10-7 spurt behind four points from Bryant to pull to within 50-43 heading into the fourth.

Then the fireworks started.

Burris and Harrison Kleb canned a trey each right off the bat for the Raptors to cut the deficit to 50-49 at the 6:25 mark.

Four points from Moore and a bucket from Cheek kept the contest tied at 56-all with 4:35 remaining, before Burris and Moore traded treys to even the count at 59-59 at the 4:11 mark.

With a raucous Research Triangle crowd doing its best to urge their club on, the Raptors rattled off a 7-2 run behind five points from Klappenbach to make the score 66-61 with 2:48 showing on the clock.

Chatham Central wasn’t done as Moore sank two foul shots to narrow the gap to 66-63 at the 2:34 mark, but Research Triangle would seal the contest at the line, going 9-of14 in the waning moments, including a three-point play with :37.5 seconds remaining by Bryant which upped the lead to 75-65.

Moore had three free throws and a trey in the closing :25.2 to close the gap to 77-73, but it wasn’t enough as the Raptors took the conference title.

Moore led all scorers with 28 points, 17 of which came in the fourth quarter. Cheek chipped in 20 more for the Bears in the loss.

Bryant had 24 points for the Raptors in the win while Klappenbach chipped in 16, Burris 14, and Itejere, who missed most of the second half after suffering a leg injury in the third period, 11.

Chatham Central (12-8) was slated to begin 1A Central Tar Heel Conference Tournament action on Monday night down in Bear Creek versus Clover Garden.

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