Fourth-Quarter Run Propels Lady Pats
The Pinecrest girls went into Monday's Senior Night basketball game against Hoke County with a big incentive to win.
A victory would mean a home date in the first round of the Southeastern Conference tournament on Tuesday against Hoke. A loss would mean a trip to Raeford.
Tied at 29-29, the Patriots scored the first 11 points of the fourth quarter. Senior Candice Seagraves scored eight of her game-high 19 points in the period as the home team prevailed 43-37.
"We didn't want to go to Hoke," senior Cayla Herm said. "We wanted to make them come here tomorrow, and that's what we did."
The players for both teams warmed up in pink shirts in recognition of a cancer research fundraiser being hosted by Pinecrest. When play got under way, Patriot coach Alvita Thomas got a lot of mileage from a starting lineup that included the team's four seniors and junior Jennie Joy.
Paige Horne delivered the third of her six first-half assists to Tianna Crawford, giving the Pats an early 10-6 lead. After the Bucks scored the next nine points in a row, Seagraves went 1-for-2 from the line after being fouled on a shot off a feed from Horne. Horne then assisted on two more baskets by Seagraves, knotting things up at 15-15.
"I knew Candice wanted the ball, so I tried to get it to her," Horne, a forward, said. "I'm not really big on scoring points."
Points were hard to come by for both teams in the second and third periods. The Pats drew even again at 29-29 on a pair of free throws by junior Lizzie Smith.
One of the largest home crowds of the season sparked a hustling effort on defense in the final quarter.
"Overall, we play better before a big crowd," Horne said. "It just gets us hyped and ready to play."
Junior Ashleigh McKenzie set up Seagraves for a three-point play to start the 11-0 run. Seagraves then turned a steal into two more. Freshman Janea Williams had three of her nine blocked shots in the game as the Bucks were held scoreless for almost five minutes. McKenzie completed the run with a steal and a layup for a 40-29 Patriot lead.
The Patriots ended a four-game slide, improving to 10-13 overall and 3-7 in the conference. They went into Tuesday's game seeking their third win of the season over Hoke. Another one would put them in a 7 p.m. Thursday semifinal contest at top-seeded Lumberton.
Seniors honored in addition to Crawford, Herm, Seagraves and Horne were student trainers Faith Williams and Passion Saunders.
"The seniors did an awesome job," Thomas said. "I'm so proud of them, especially Tianna. They wanted this win."
Hoke 13 7 9 8 - 37
Pinecrest 10 11 8 14 - 43
Hoke - Dixon 1 2-2 4, Honeycutt 1 3-4 5, Farrell 5 3-4 13, Pegues 3 2-3 8, Darden 2 3-6 7. Totals 12 13-20 37. Pinecrest - Joy 1 0-0 3, Crawford 2 0-0 4, Seagraves 8 3-9 19, Herm 1 0-1 2, Horne 0 0-0 0, Williams 3 0-2 6, Smith 0 3-5 3, Painter 2 0-0 4, Lynch 0 0-0 0, Thomas 0 0-0 0, McKenzie 1 0-1 2. Totals 18 6-18 43. Three-point goals: (P) 1 (Joy).
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