Patriots Pick Up Road Win at Scotland
Leading up to Tuesday’s boys’ basketball game at Scotland County, Pinecrest coach Mike Apple couldn’t shake the painful memory of a December 2005 meeting on the same court.
“I was telling the kids about what I think was a 32-26 game we lost down here about five years ago, and what a grind it was,” he said. “That was all I had on my mind before this game. This was kind of similar, although not to that extent.”
The Patriots came into that game of yore with a 6-0 record. The final score in the loss to the previously winless Scots was actually 38-27. The Scots held the visitors to 12 field goals on 49 attempts. Jeremy Hargrove was the high scorer for the Pats that night with five points.
Shades of that debacle, the Patriots fell behind the again underdog Scots 25-22 at halftime after connecting on only three of their 16 field goal attempts in the second quarter. They righted the ship in the third period, making six of nine shots from the field and all six free throw attempts on the way to a 57-45 victory.
Coupled with Hoke County’s victory over Lumberton on Tuesday, the Patriots, 17-4 overall, head into tonight’s 7:30 p.m. home game against Purnell Swett tied for first place with the team from Raeford at 6-1 in the Southeastern Conference.
“To Scotland’s credit, they did a good job of controlling the tempo,” Apple said of his team’s rough first half. “We were settling for jump shots instead of taking it to the rim.”
The first three times the Patriots had the ball in the third period they attacked the glass, drawing fouls. Phillip Wallace, Faronte’ Drakeford and Antonio Jones each sank a pair at the charity stripe. Later in the period, Wallace stole the ball, and instead of risking a block at the rim, fed the trailing Traivon Williams for an emphatic dunk, giving the Patriots a 32-26 lead.
Williams, a 6-foot-3 junior, is one of the team’s leading scorers and rebounders off the bench. He has more than enough hop, but the dunk was his first successful one of the season in about five attempts.
“All the other times I tried to dunk, I guess it wasn’t my night,” he said. “Tonight it felt right. When Phillip passed me the ball, I felt in my heart to just go for it.”
With the momentum now on their side, the Patriots outscored the Scots 18-8 in the quarter and took a 40-33 edge into the final eight minutes. A three by Damion Pride provided some breathing room when the Scots closed the gap to four points with three minutes remaining.
Drakeford scored nine of his game-high 17 points in the quarter to help wrap up the road win. Jones and Wallace were also in double figures, with 11 and 10 points.
Williams is a part of the Patriot rotation of 10 or 11 players that consistently gives the team a late-game advantage. His contributions to the win included six points, four rebounds, a blocked shot and an assist.
“Traivon is a high energy player,” Apple said. “He comes in and plays hard all the time. He’s really been a pleasant surprise, a secret weapon and an important part of our basketball team all year.”
The Scots fell to 4-10 and 2-5 with the loss. They were led by Isaiah Robinson and Tony McRae, with 10 points apiece.
All roads wins are big in conference basketball, but this one is not likely to erase the memory of the 2005 game for the Patriot coach.
“I was proud of my team tonight,” Apple said. “I thought they gutted it out and had a good performance on the road.”
Contact Charlie Berg-mann at email@example.com. com.
Pinecrest 57, Scotland 45
Pinecrest 15 7 18 17 57
Scotland 8 17 8 12 45
Pinecrest – Wallace 3 4-4 10, Drakeford 6 5-7 17, Pride 2 0-0 6, M. Smith 2 0-0 4, Jones 4 3-4 11, McLaughlin 1 0-0 2, Pearson 0 1-2 1, Cummings 0 0-0 0, Barnes 0 0-0 0, Painter 0 0-0 0, Williams 3 0-0 6. Totals 21 13-17 57. Scotland – Robinson 5 0-0 10, Jones 3 0-0- 7, Tr. McRae 4 0-0 8, Murphy 2 0-0 4, To. McRae 2 6-9 10, Henderson 2 0-2 2, Wright 1 0-2 2. Totals 19 6-13 45. Three-point goals: (P) 2 (Pride 2); (S) 1 (Jones).
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