McLaurin Leads SCC Over Lenoir
By Charlie Bergmann
Special to The Pilot
When Hilary McLaurin is performing on the basketball court for Sandhills Community College, the look of joy is unmistakable.
The former all-conference player at Pinecrest scored 27 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the Flyers (8-3) to a 106-100 victory over Lenoir Community College Wednesday.
Also scoring in double figures for the winners in the game played at the O'Neal School were Germann Bostic, 20, Joe Houpe, 18, Corey Rase, 14, and Michael Dunkins, 11. Gerald Smith led Lenoir (0-4) with 23 points.
Since earning all-league honors in 2005 at Pinecrest, McLaurin was out of organized basketball except for several games he played during a short stay at Rockingham Community College three years ago. He practiced with the Flyers last year as a redshirted player.
"I'm so happy right now," the 6-foot-4 guard and wingman said after a game that raised his season averages to 19.0 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. "I can't explain how happy I am to be able to do this again."
McLaurin scored on a layup, a tip and a long three as the Flyers took their biggest lead of the first half at 30-21 about seven minutes before the intermission. When Lenoir closed the gap to 48-47 on the second possession of the second half, Rase, the point guard, provided a spark.
The product of Weddington High School scored off his own steal and then fed McLaurin for a three. A moment later, a rebound by McLaurin led to a lightning-quick fast break basket by Bostic off another Rase assist, making it 55-47.
With 7:59 left in the game, the Flyers were sitting on an 87-70 cushion after a Clay Thorne free throw. But by the 4:50 mark, the margin was 88-86 when a basket by Ray Hankins capped a 15-1 Lenoir run.
Rase responded with a driving hook for a three-point play that made it 91-86. A basket by McLaurin from Rase and then a flush of a McLaurin miss by Houpe provided some more relief for the home team.
"We've worked hard in practice trying to figure out why we can't finish the game," McLaurin said. "We average almost 100 points a game (95.5). If we can stop the other teams from getting that high we'll be a little better. If any coach can fix it, our coach will."
Flyer coach Aaron Denton spent all last season looking forward to getting McLaurin back on the court. He says the accounting major has also been an excellent student.
"Hilary knows what it's like to go a couple years and not play, and he really wants to play college basketball," the coach said. "He meant a ton to us last year and he never stepped on the floor. He was with us every day for practice. Those were his games, and he's better for it. We really feed off his energy."
Bostic, an honorable mention NJCAA All-American last season, leads the Flyers in scoring with a 19.7 average. Houpe is the leading rebounder with 8.6 grabs per game.
Sandhills is on the road next Monday and Wednesday with the Methodist and St. Andrews jayvee teams providing the opposition in 7 p.m. contests.
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