Lady Pats Fall on Buzzer-Beater
The celebration of three wins in one season over Hoke County was only seconds away when the Pinecrest girls paid dearly for a night of playing loose with the ball.
A jumper by the Bucks’ Briana Darden as the buzzer sounded saddled the Patriots with a 36-35 loss in Tuesday’s first-round Southeastern 4A Conference tournament game played at James Moore Gym.
The Patriots turned it on in the fourth quarter the night before to pull out a 42-37 victory over the Bucks in the final regular season game. That earned them the fourth seed and a return engagement at home a night later.
Paced by Jennie Joy and Candice Seagraves, the Pats used a 6-0 run at the start of the fourth quarter to take a 28-22 lead. Turnovers allowed the Bucks to come back and take a one-point lead several times before a putback by Cayla Herm put the Pats in front 34-32 with 49.8 seconds remaining. With 20 ticks left, Herm was fouled in the act and went 1-for-2, making it 35-32.
Seconds later, Joy missed the front end of a 1-and-1 opportunity. A basket by the Bucks’ Ayanna Pegues made it 35-34 with only four seconds remaining. The Pats then tried to force the ball inbounds to Joy under the Hoke basket and turned it over for the 36th time in the game.
The Patriots took a timeout with 1.5 seconds on the clock. Hoke then inbounded the ball to the wide open Darden for about a 12-foot shot that produced delirium for the victorious Bucks and gloom for the home side.
"We just didn't play hard and that last turnover cost us the game," Patriot coach Alvita Thomas said. "I don't even know what to say. That should have been our game."
Seagraves led the Patriots with 13 points, 11 rebounds and five steals. Joy scored 11 points and also had five steals. Darden scored nine points to lead the Bucks.
Pinecrest will take a 10-14 record into a first-round 4A state playoff game against the second seed from the Tri-9 Conference on Monday or Tuesday. Hoke advances to play Lumberton in one of Thursday’s conference tournament semifinal contests.
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