Patriot Girls Collect Victories
The Pinecrest girls must have felt there was a lid on the basket as they made less than one out of every four shots from the field in splitting their first two games of the basketball season.
That all changed this week. Janea Williams scored 21 points and freshman Jasmine Chalmers added 14, as the Patriots sank 49 percent of their field-goal attempts in Tuesday’s 58-26 home victory over Red Springs.
The Pats made a respectable 40 percent of their shots the next night in a 49-30 win at Western Harnett to improve to 3-1 on the season. Felicia Painter posted a double-double that included 14 points and 19 rebounds, while Keegan Lynch scored 12, including sinking three-of-five shots from beyond the arc.
“Not only did we shoot the ball better, we ran the offense more effectively,” Patriot coach Mike Loutzenheiser said after Tuesday’s contest. “In the first two games we were relying on jump shots too much and not really getting our bigs involved. Tonight we worked inside and out, and that’s what we have to do as a team.”
Chalmers provided the early spark against Red Springs by scoring 10 points in the first quarter as the Pats took a 14-5 lead. Two of her baskets were made with her left hand. She was six for eight from the field for the night.
“I write with my left hand, but play basketball with my right,” she said in explaining her ambidexterity.
Williams erupted for 13 in the second period with an array of jumpers and drives to the basket. Lynch, the Patriot point guard, assisted on three of Williams’ six baskets as the lead grew to 31-15. She fed Williams again for a jumper to begin the third quarter. Painter scored all eight of her points in the period that ended with the Patriots on top 49-21.
Led by Lynch, the offense was working just like it was drawn up in practice.
“It felt great to know that when we accomplish something in practice we know we can do it in the game,” the junior said. “It shows we have a great coach. Janea and I had a really good connection tonight.”
Williams’ nine field goals included three from the 13-to-15 foot range. The 6-foot-3 center was nine for 12 from the field overall.
“I never really shoot jump shots, but Coach told me I should,” she said. “Keegan just sees the floor and knows when we’re open.”
Loutzenheiser feels both Williams and the 6-0 Painter can help keep defenses honest with their outside shooting ability. In the second period, he called a time out to set up a three-point attempt by Painter from the top of the key that rimmed out.
“She and Felicia are going to get that shot when we run against a zone,” the coach said. “She’s got a nice touch, and it showed tonight. She played a heck of a game.”
The visitors turned the ball over 31 times in the game, with Dessence Waddell and Painter each recording four steals.
“Defensively I thought we played tremendous too,” Loutzenheiser said. “I thought we put together a good basketball game.”
Painter had the hot hand against Western Harnett, going seven for 11 from the field. The junior has averaged a double-double (11 points and 12 rebounds per game) through the first four games. Williams was held to eight points.
The Patriot defense stepped up again, allowing the Eagles no field goals in the first half. The Pats led 23-11 at halftime with all of the visitors’ points coming at the free-throw line. Lynch and Megan Thomas each handed out four assists. Lynch also had four steals, and Williams blocked four shots.
The Patriots travel to Southern Durham tonight.
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