Published: Feb 10, 2012 11:31 PM
Modified: Feb 10, 2012 11:38 PM
SANFORD - Holly Springs coach Thurman Jordan had been here before, entering the final day of the regular season hoping to secure a fifth and final playoff spot heading into the conference tournament. But Jordan had never exited the day with his team in that much-needed position.
Not until this Friday.
Holly Springs held off a pesky Lee County team 51-49, putting the Golden Hawks in position to make the NCHSAA playoffs for the first time in the program's six-year history.
The last Lee game-winning 3-point attempt clanked off the rim just as the final buzzer sounded - but well before other Tri-Nine games that could've impacted Holly Springs had ended. But the Golden Hawks were in good position thanks to three straight wins (plus seven in the last 10 games) -- a win-and-you're-in-position.
A relieved Jordan didn't need to check the other final scores if he didn't want to. His team (13-11, 8-8) was all alone in fifth.
"We're finally looking from the inside-out," said Jordan. "I'm glad we were able to overcome a lot of mistakes, a lot of lapses on the defensive end. Because we have been playing pretty well on the defensive end."
Lee, which finished eighth in the Tri-Nine, led the Hawks by one at halftime and the two traded blows for most of the second half. But a game-high 18 points from Anthanee Doyle plus a double-double (10 points, 11 rebounds) from Wes Treiber propelled Holly Springs.
Holly Springs isn't safe, of course. If a team seeded lower than fifth wins next week's Tri-Nine Conference tournament, that team will assume the 2-seed and bump all others down a spot -- which means the Hawks would no longer have the final playoff spot and would have to sweat it out to see if they earned a wild-card spot.
But all that was secondary on Friday.
"It's better where we've been," said Jordan.