A three-pointer at the buzzer by North Paulding’s Chris Kennard put the Wolfpack ahead 50-43 at the end of the third quarter. That’s when the Jaguar defense and Nashon Dortch took over the game. Dortch scored the first bucket of the period and New Manchester’s defense refused to relent its stellar defensive pressure.
The Wolfpack boys only scored three buckets from the field as New Manchester forced numerous turnovers and contested shots. Offensively, Dortch was putting on a one-man show as he scored 12 points, including the go-ahead shot, during a 22-3 run that sealed the victory.
North Paulding came out on fire as they surprised the visiting Jaguars. Behind four points from Joel Brooks and Benz, the Wolfpack held the 16-10 advantage after the first period.
New Manchester came back and tied it twice early in the second period. Behind three-pointers from Benz and Kennard, the Wolfpack broke the 18-18 tie and scored eight straight to regain control. The Jaguars trailed 31-24 at the break.
New Manchester fought back to tie it again in the third quarter. Trailing 39-31, the Jaguars used a balanced attack to tie the game at 40 on a basket by senior Chris Fortson. After two missed free throws, Fortson hit a go-ahead three but North Paulding scored the final 10 points of the quarter to hold onto the advantage.
Dortch scored a game-high 18 points for New Manchester and Tre Sledge added 10 points in the victory.
Benz (17 points), Kennard (14) and Brooks (nine) paced North Paulding in the losing effort.
In the opener, the North Paulding girls never trailed. Leading 4-3, the Lady Wolfpack scored the next 10 points behind eight from Jazmin Konnick. After the first quarter, the Lady Wolfpack led 15-5.
North Paulding scored the first nine points of the second period and held a sizeable 26-11 lead at the halftime break.
Trailing 39-17, New Manchester scored the last six points of the third quarter thanks to free throws from Brianna Jenkins and Uryah Lucas and a trey from Taiylor Hibbard. The Lady Jags still trailed 39-23, heading into the fourth quarter.
New Manchester couldn’t muster any serious threat in the fourth as North Paulding’s girls celebrated its Senior Night with a victory.
Konnick scored 12 of her 17 points in the first quarter for the Lady Wolfpack. Jalexis Teemer (10), Dylanka Mareelin (seven), and Calia Howse (seven) round out the leading scorers for NPHS.
New Manchester’s Alyssia Harris finished the game with a team-high eight points.
New Manchester closes out the regular season tonight with a game at Villa Rica.