Lady Pats Notch 1st League Win
By Charlie Bergmann
Special to The Pilot
Missing their starting and back-up point guards, the normally up-tempo Pinecrest girls slowed things way down against Purnell Swett in Friday night's home game.
The change in tactic that put four frontcourt players in the lineup at the start along with guard Ashleigh McKenzie worked well enough to give the Patriots their first Southeastern Conference victory of the season. They outscored the Rams 53-49 to improve to 1-2 in the league and 8-7 overall.
Neither Jennie Joy nor Keegan Lynch were in uniform after receiving blows to the head from separate collisions during Tuesday's 42-35 loss to Scotland County.
"We started a big lineup because we didn't have our strong ball-handlers," Patriot coach Alvita Thomas said. "We told them we were going to need big games tonight because we were missing our outside shooting."
A three by freshman Felicia Painter kept the Patriots afloat in a first quarter that ended with the Rams on top 8-5. Operating mostly from the top of the circle in the second period, McKenzie, the lone guard in the game for the Patriots, patiently orchestrated a dissection of the Ram defense.
The Pats took a 10-8 lead on a three-point play by another freshman, Janea Williams. A 17-4 Patriot burst ended with Candice Seagraves finding Painter open for her ninth point of the half and a 22-12 lead.
Forwards Painter, Williams and Seagraves and center Cayla Herm accounted for all 19 second-quarter points, staking the Pats to a 24-15 halftime lead. Each also recorded at least one assist.
"We had to wait for people to get open instead of getting ahead of ourselves," Seagraves said after scoring a team-high 15 points in the game. "When we get ahead of ourselves, that's when we turn the ball over."
The Patriots matched their biggest lead when the 6-foot-2 Williams went coast-to-coast after a steal for the basket that made it 32-21 about midway through the third quarter. But with McKenzie on the bench, the Rams scored 10 points in a row behind the play of Laura Bird and Porshae Pipkin.
"Coach said that we have to get our heads in the game," Seagraves said. "I had to do everything I could to help."
A minute into the fourth period, the Patriot lead was 38-31 after a basket by Seagraves. With 5:49 remaining, the senior turned her third steal of the quarter into a three-point play, making it 41-31.
But the Rams came storming back again as the Patriots repeatedly turned the ball over. The margin was a precarious 48-47 after a jumper by Pipkin with 1:40 to play. A five-second violation deprived the Rams of a chance to go ahead. Williams then fed Herm for two before a difficult bank shot by Seagraves sewed up the Patriots' first league win.
Including 13 points by Williams, the starting frontcourt quartet combined to score 43 of the Patriots' 53 points. Williams also contributed six rebounds, three blocks, three steals and two assists.
The Patriots will hopefully have Joy and Lynch available when they return to action at home next Friday against Richmond Senior. The loss dropped the Rams to 0-3 and 5-9.
Purnell Swett 8 7 16 18 - 49
Pinecrest 5 19 11 18 - 53
Purnell Swett - Bird 3 6-8 12, Clark 1 0-0 2, Easterling 1 0-0 2, Kenworthy 2 3-4 7, Lewis 2 7-14 11, Pipkin 7 3-4 17. Totals 16 19-30 49. Pinecrest - Painter 4 0-0 9, McKenzie 2 0-0 4, Seagraves 5 5-5 15, Herm 3 0-1 6, Williams 5 3-5 13, Crawford 0 1-2 1, Horne 1 0-2 2, Thomas 1 1-2 3, Smith 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 10-17 53. Three-point goals: (S) none; (P) 1 (Painter).
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