Pinecrest Drops 2nd Straight
By Charlie Bergmann
Special to The Pilot
For the first time in three games, the Pinecrest boys will be playing people about their size when they travel to Lumberton for a basketball game tonight.
Tuesday's 75-62 loss at Flora MacDonald made it two Ls in a row against private school teams the Patriots couldn't come close to matching in the height department. The Cougars' 6-foot-8 Luke Cothron scored 37 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and combined with 6-8 teammate Jordan Harmon to block a dozen shots.
The size factor also played a role in last week's loss to Trinity Christian in the championship game of the Holiday in the Pines tournament that came after the Patriots won their first 10 games.
"When you're playing 6-9s and 6-10s against 6-2s and 6-1s, it's easy to kind of see there's a big disadvantage there," Patriot coach Mike Apple said. "Now we're going to get back to playing against guys taller than us, but not substantially so."
Cothron, who lived in Huntsville, Ala., before coming to the Red Springs school last year, recently indicated he plans to sign with N.C. State. On Monday, he scored 30 points while another prize recruit, C.J. Leslie of Word of God, scored 33 in the Cougars' victory on the same court.
Cothron really got things going in the second quarter, scoring 13 points as the Cougars outscored the Patriots 25-7 to take a 40-17 halftime lead. The Patriot response was one of their best quarters this season.
"I think we really woke up in the second half, knowing this was a bigger team and we had to adjust," Patriot guard Cedric Threadgill said. "The second half we pulled things together."
Daquain Towns, who finished with a team high 16 points, began beating the home team down court in transition for layups. Scoreless in the first half, Julian Brewer created shots off the dribble.
The two combined for 17 points in a 24-12 run that ended with a pass from Threadgill to Harron Carson for a basket that made it a 52-41 game.
But in the final minute and a half of the period, Cougar threes by Jerome Seagraves, Devon Ivey and Cothron undid much of the hard work, extending the margin to 63-43 with a quarter to go.
James Baldwin scored 10 points in the fourth quarter as the Patriots closed the gap to 11 one more time with 1:20 remaining. He finished with 14 points, and Brewer added 12.
"The offense came alive," Apple said after his team outscored the Cougars 45-35 in the second half. "We got aggressive and started doing things we were capable of doing."
Flora MacDonald improved to 18-6. Pinecrest, 10-2, came into this week ranked No. 9 in the NCPreps.com media poll. Tonight's 7:30 p.m. Southeastern Conference opener against the 4-7 Pirates marks the team's first trip to Lumberton in six years.
The Pirates are led by 6-1 senior Devonte Davis, who averages 14 points per game. The next three top scorers are all sophomores.
"I look for it to be a tough game," Apple said. "They've played very well this year, and they've played very poorly. They're a very young team."
The Pinecrest jayvee team improved to 9-2 with a 69-14 victory over Flora MacDonald. The Patriots were led by Adam Cummings with 11 points and Bryce Kennedy with 10. Gabe Tolson had eight, and Greg Barnes, Brian Scales, Jordan Fields and Khalad Alexander scored six apiece.
Pinecrest 10 7 26 19 - 62
Flora MacDonald 15 25 23 12 - 75
Pinecrest - McLaughlin 0 0-0 0, Wallace 2 0-0 5, Towns 8 0-0 16, Brewer 5 2-3 12, Baldwin 7 0-0 14, Threadgill 1 1-2 4, Carson 3 0-0 6, Drakeford 1 1-2 3, Smith 1 0-0 2. Totals 28 4-7 62. Flora Mac - Seagraves 8 0-1 18, Gentry 3 0-0 7, Cothron 14 7-10 37, Harmon 3 0-0 6, Harris 2 0-2 4, Ivey 1 0-0 3, Brown 0 0-0 0, Lebranch 0 0-0 0, Martin 0 0-0 0. Totals 31 7-13 75. Three-point goals: (P) 2 (Wallace, Threadgill); (F) (Cothron 2, Seagraves 2, Ivey, Gentry).
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