Pinecrest Wins Second Straight SEC Tournament
The Pinecrest boys survived a high energy start by Richmond Senior and went on to win the Southeastern Conference Tournament championship 71-62 at James Moore Gym Friday night.
The Patriots, 22-4 overall, have now won consecutive regular season and conference tournament titles. They are a combined 23-1 in league games over the last two seasons.
Coach Mike Apple’s squad entertains West Johnston, the fifth seed from the Greater Neuse River Conference, at 7 p.m. on Monday in a 4A state playoff first round game.
While the Patriots were cold from the field, missed layups and turnovers were the only thing that prevented the Raiders from taking complete control of the game in the first half. As it was, the visitors led 25-17 late in the second quarter. But a three by Traivon Williams, a jumper from the side by Antonio Jones and two penetrations for baskets by Phillip Wallace added up to a 9-0 run and a 26-25 Patriot halftime lead.
The Pats then scored the first nine points of the third quarter on two baskets by Jones, a three by Marshall Smith and a steal for two by Faronte’ Drakeford. Just before the end of the period a put-back by Frankie Painter gave them their biggest lead of the night at 53-37.
Shades of their comeback win from 20 points behind against Hoke County in Wednesday’s semi-final game, the Raider response was a 20-7 burst that cut the margin to 60-57 with 3:43 remaining in the game. Drakeford fed Williams for two to stop the bleeding and then made a pair at the foul line, making 64-57.
A moment later, Damion Pride turned a steal into a basket and the Patriots then completed their scoring from the foul line.
Before one of the noisiest crowds of the season, Wallace and Drakeford each scored 16 points and Smith had 12, including three treys. Jones and Williams added nine points each. The Raiders, 17-8, were led by Will Freeman with 18 points and Jordan Richardson with 15.
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