Patriot Boys Spring Upset on Bucs
The Pinecrest boys came into Tuesday's home game against Jack Britt still smarting from last Friday night's upset loss at Hoke County.
They responded with their best all-around performance of the season, holding off a late Jack Britt threat for a 72-66 victory.
Sophomores Josh Scales and Tony Allbrooks combined for 18 points in a fourth quarter that became a Patriot parade to the free-throw line where they converted 15 of 24 attempts.
The Pats took a 5-6 mark in the Mid-Southeastern Conference and a 10-11 overall record into Thursday's home game against first-place Westover.
"I think it came from us losing by 20 the last time (at Jack Britt) and the game at Hoke," Scales said of his team's commitment to slug it out for the entire 32 minutes against the Buccaneers (7-4, 15-6). "We practiced well this week. We turned our anger into a positive."
A pair of second-quarter threes by Seth Maness, and another by Scales, helped the Patriots take a 33-20 lead to the intermission. The home team struggled offensively in the third period, but two more threes by Maness, and a buzzer-beating inside basket by Julian Brewer, enabled them to take a 45-38 edge into the final eight minutes.
The Bucs' 6-foot-5 C.J. Williams, who was averaging 25 points per game, had only four baskets in eight attempts to that point. The 6-foot Scales got the defensive assignment, with 6-6 Adam Wire providing support in the paint in the event Williams tried to post him up.
"He (coach Mike Apple) told me not to let him touch the basketball and basically don't let him shoot," Scales said.
The Patriot lead was 56-47 after Scales scored seven of the Patriots' first 11 points of the fourth quarter. A three by the Bucs' Cornelius Snow and a basket by Williams made it 56-52 with 4:30 left in the game, and shortly before the Patriot parade to the charity stripe got under way.
Allbrooks and Maness each drained a pair getting the lead back to eight points. Wire, a warrior for the Patriots with 12 points, 13 rebounds, five steals and four assists, missed five free throws in a row at one point, but Allbrooks scored nine of the last 10 Patriot points, eight of them coming from the free-throw line.
Jack Britt was ranked 10th in the state in the 4-A rankings before dropping its last three games. Buc coach Ike Walker thinks his team needs to return to putting out more of a collective rather than individual effort.
"Tonight, they (Pinecrest) were more assertive in all aspects of the game," Walker said. "If this had been a heavyweight fight, we would have been knocked out several times. We just did not answer the bell. We did not respond to their challenge."
With Patriot starting center Jarrin Wooten in foul trouble throughout the game, Brewer came off the bench to score 10 points. The Patriots continued to get improved guard play with junior James Breeden contributing four assists. Maness had 14 points, including four treys and Allbrooks finished with 13 points.
Williams and Snow each finished with 21 points for the visitors.
The Patriot coach, echoing Scales, thinks the success against Jack Britt began in practice.
"Yesterday at practice, we picked it up a notch," he said. "I've always said that you're going to play like you practice and it carried over tonight."
With three conference games remaining, the Patriots occupy the fifth playoff spot with Richmond County in sixth place, just one game behind.
Conference standings: Westover 9-2, Seventy-First 8-3, Jack Britt 7-4, Douglas Byrd 6-5, Pinecrest 5-6, Richmond 4-7, Scotland 3-8, Hoke 2-9.
Jack Britt 13 7 18 28 -- 66
Pinecrest 14 19 12 27 -- 72
Jack Britt -- McRae 2 2-3 6, Snow 4 9-12 21, Ingram 4 0-0 9, Williams 8 3-4 21, Jeffcoat 2 0-2 4, Nixon 0 1-2 1, Bobson 1 0-0 2, Craft 1 0-0 2, Minnick 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 22 15-23 66.
Pinecrest -- Maness 4 2-2 14, Wire 5 2-7 12, Wooten 2 0-0 4, Scales 6 6-8 19, Brown 0 0-0 0, Allbrooks 2 9-15 13, Brewer 5 0-0 10, Breeden 0 0-0 0, Sprouse 0 0-0 0, Johnstone 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 24 19-32 72.
Three-point goals: Jack Britt 7 (Snow 4, Williams 2, Ingram); Pinecrest 5 (Maness 4, Scales).
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