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Nighthawks lose to Southwest Onslow in second round of tourney

After posting a stunning 76-69 upset win at Goldsboro in the first round of the NCHSAA boys’ state basketball tournament February 20, the First Flight High School Nighthawks fell behind in the second half of Thursday’s second round home game to end the season on a 71-62 loss to Southwest Onslow.

Playing at Goldsboro on Tuesday, the visiting Nighthawks, seeded 23rd in the field of 32 east division teams, jumped out to a 24-15 lead over the Cougars, seeded tenth with only four losses this season, and held off a fourth quarter run to finish the game on top.

FIRST FLIGHT SOPHOMORE DYLAN BLAKE scored 12 points against Southwest Onslow, including nine from the free throw line, in Thursday’s 71-62 second round state tournament loss. The Nighthawks ended the season 16-10 overall. (P. S. Ruckle Jr. photo)

Scoring in double digits for the Nighthawks Reese Jones led with 33, Dylan Blake added 23 points, and Jordan High contributed in another 14 points toward the win.

The first round win advanced First Flight (16-9) on to Thursday’s second round game against number 26 Southwest Onslow (13-12) who had just toppled number 7 Heide Trask 95-91 in triple overtime match.

Executing well throughout the first half the Nighthawks were out in front of the Jacksonville team by as much 10 and held a 36-30 halftime lead. In the second half momentum shifted and a crowded gym saw the visiting Stallions outscore the Nighthawks almost two-to-one with a come-from-behind effort in the third quarter to go ahead 53-48.

A stronger fourth quarter proved to be too little too late for First Flight and Southwest Onslow held on for the 71-62 win and a third round tournament game. First Flight ended the season 16-10 overall, 5-5 in conference play.

Scoring for the Nighthawks in the Thursday game were Dylan Blake 12, Reese Jones 15, Tyler Witt 3, Grayson Bell 12, Jordan High 16 and Braxton Hughes 4.

Scoring for Southwest Onslow were Daiquon Roberts 15, Dharyus Thomas 19, Robert Hannan 10, Isaac Anderson 3, Taighee Edwards 2, D’Angleo McKinnie 2 and Derek Green 20.

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