Photo by RAJohnston
After spending three seasons at Burlington Cummings and one season bringing West Charlotte back the the top, J.T. Terrell's high school career ended tonight in a tough loss to Lake Norman in the state semifinals.
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At halftime, things were looking good for the West Charlotte Lions. They went into the locker room with a nine point lead and their star was clicking on all cylinders. J.T. Terrell had 22 points on 7-13 shooting (4-7 from deep) after the first 16 minutes. In one two minute stretch he was fouled shooting a three (made 2/3), hit two other extremely deep threes and then wrapped the ball around his back for a layup. At this point, it looked like the Lions would run away with it.
The second half, however, was a much different story. West Charlotte decided to stall a bit to start the half, which was a very questionable decision. The Lions' bread and butter is run-and-gun, fast-break basketball. After slowing it down a bit and a tweak in the defense for Lake Norman, it was a completely different game. Senior Reggie Price did an exceptional job on Terrell in the second half, limiting his touches and making him work for every shot. In fact, Terrell only took two shots in the third quarter and only made one shot from the field after halftime.
The workhorse for Lake Norman was senior center Paul Larsen, who is headed to Mercer next year. The future Bear converted several shots on the blocks while being fouled and knocked down his free throws. Larsen finished with 20 points (10-14 FTs), 13 rebounds and 4 blocks.
The Lions stumbled in regulation due to lack of free throw shooting. They finished 11-21 from the charity stripe, with several of the misses coming at the front-end of the bonus. In overtime, Price was flawless once the Wildcats got the lead. On the night he was a perfect 11-11 from the stripe and single-handedly ended the Lions' season. The final count was Lake Norman 83 - West Charlotte 72 and the Wildcats will head to Raleigh for the 4A state championship next Saturday.
After a Terrell intentional foul put the game out of reach, J.T. went for one last highlight to end his career. He dribbled through two defenders and threw the ball off the backboard to himself for a highlight jam. Unfortunately the ball clanked off the back rim, much to the delight of the Lake Norman faithful. As the buzzer sounded, Terrell was visibly frustrated and walked off the floor with his team. Current Wake Forest freshmen C.J. Harris tried to make his way over to have a talk with him, but event staff would not allow it. As West Charlotte came back onto the court to collect their awards, Terrell reluctantly received his award and wanted no part of Reggie Price's celebration. Lake Norman fans gathered behind press row to shout obscenities at Terrell before both teams finally made their way off the floor for the last time.
Terrell ended his career with a 27 point effort (8/22 FGs, 4/11 from three, 7/9 FTs) as well as tallying three rebounds, four assists and a block. He scored nearly 3,000 points in his high school career and averaged around 30 points per game for his sophomore, junior and senior campaigns. This is certainly an amazing career that Demon Deacon fans will look forward to seeing more of at the Joel Coliseum next season. As with most high school recruits, there is some work to be done to tighten up his game a bit on both sides of the floor. However, J.T. Terrell will be making headlines sooner rather than later and non-Wake ACC fans will have a new player that they can love to hate.
We can't wait to see you in the Old Gold and Black, J.T.!