Northeastern defended its sectional championship on Saturday, March 2, with a hard-fought 43-41 win over Union County. The Knights built an early lead and expanded it to 17 points in the third quarter before going into the fourth quarter with what appeared to be a comfortable 35-22 lead. 

The Patriots dug down, battled back and started to cut into the Northeastern lead.

The Knights hit three first-quarter 3-pointers to take a 11-8 lead after one period. The Knights dialed up their defensive pressure and hit three more 3-pointers in the second quarter to take a 25-11 halftime lead. The teams played virtually even in the third period with the Knights holding a 35-22 advantage with one quarter to play.

It seemed that the Patriots were in an impossible position.

The Patriots became the aggressors in the final period, bringing defensive pressure and consistently getting inside to score. Forced to foul to get back in the game, the Patriots sent the Knights, who are normally good free throw shooters, to the line hoping they would miss.  

Wes Hunt scored the only field goal in the fourth quarter for the Knights. The balance of their scoring came at the free throw line. The Knights attempted 14 fourth-quarter free throws and missed eight of them, giving the Patriots repeated opportunities to cut into their deficit and the Pats capitalized, outscoring Northeastern 19-8 in the final period.

The outcome of the game was not decided until the final seconds.   

Landon Scarrette led the balanced Knight scoring attack with 11 points. Tre Vanlandingham and Michael Henry III each scored 8 points and Sam White added 7 points, pulled down nine rebounds and blocked five shots.

Gavin Davis led the Patriots with a game high of 12 points. Logan Harris scored 10 points and Logan Boone scored 9 points.

Northeastern head coach Brent Ross had praise for the Patriots. “We knew coming in to this game that Union County would give an all-out effort,” Ross said. “These kids all know each other and there is a lot of pride both ways. You must give Union County a lot of credit.”

Ross went on to talk about his Knights. “It is hard to win a sectional,” Ross said. “We got contributions from everybody who played. It was truly a team win. No one will remember the score later, but they will remember who won. It doesn’t matter if you win by 1 point or 20 points if you win.”

The Knights will advance to face Parke Heritage on Saturday, March 9, at the Martinsville Regional with a 7 p.m. start.

Northeastern (18-7)     11  14  10     8    43

Logan Seal 2, Vanlandingham 8, Scarrette 11, Henry 8, Kaleb Moore 0, Nolan Drake 2, Hunt 5, White 7 — Total 43

Union County (11-14)     7  11  11  19    41

Boone 9, Harris 10, Davis 12, Nick Watterson 4, Caden Coffman 0, Kyle Sams 0, Mason Stewart 4, Fenton Coyle 2 — Total 41


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A version of this article appeared in the March 6 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Dan Harney is a sports reporter at the Western Wayne News.