Efficient Patriots Stop Lee
The Pinecrest boys matched their victory total for the entire 2011-12 season with a 52-38 victory over Lee County at James Moore Gym Monday evening.
The Patriots (7-2) combined an efficient half-court offense early with a tenacious defense throughout to take the sting out of the Yellow Jackets (3-3). Senior Justin Ray helped create a comfortable margin at the end by scoring 14 of his team-high 18 points in the last 10 minutes of the game.
Dewaun McEachin, a 6-foot-5 junior, scored a game-high 21 points for the visitors.
“I love to run and get up court,” Ray said of the transition game he ignited with four steals during the strong finish for the Patriots. “We got back on track after coming off the loss on Friday. It feels good to get back to winning ways before Christmas and the holiday tournament.”
Hoggard snapped the Patriots five-game winning streak on Friday. The Patriots are now idle until Dec. 27 when they meet South Lakes High School of Reston, Va., at 8 p.m. in the opening round of the 10th annual Holiday in the Pines Basketball Tournament at Pinecrest.
In the first half of Monday’s contest, the Patriots didn’t commit their second turnover of the game until the third minute of the second quarter. They took advantage of a Jacket defense that was overplaying them on the perimeter to make cuts for the basket and receive passes for layups.
Mixed in was a pair of threes from the left corner by Adam Cummings and one from up top by Kardashian Ragin. Jermaine Martin-Calhoun and Ragin each had two of the Pats’ nine assists on 11 made baskets as they took a 26-19 lead into the intermission.
“They executed to the ‘T,’” Patriot coach Andrew Lacey said.
Looming dangerously was the presence of McEachin, who was unstoppable, scoring 11 points in the second quarter, including two baskets on dunks.
“We had the keys to win on the board,” Lacey said. “No. 2 was low post defense ‘one through five.’ One through five means all five players on the floor had to be aware of the post player.
“In the first half we had no help-side. In the second half, we got double, triple and quadruple teams down in the paint. We forced those kids to shoot jump shots and took them out of what they were trying to do.”
The Jacket big man was limited to one field goal and a pair of free throws in the third quarter. Leading 29-25 in the period, junior Brendan Ortiz assisted on three Patriot baskets in a row — one by Cummings and two by Ray — stretching the margin to 35-27.
Ray split a pair at the foul line for the first point of the fourth period. Cummings finished his own miss for two before Ray went coast-to-coast with a steal, making it 40-27 with six minutes remaining in the game. The visitors never got closer than nine points the rest of the way.
“Adam stepped up,” Lacey said of Cummings, who scored 13 points to go with a team-high six rebounds. “Justin Ray had a wonderful game in the second half. That’s what you ask from your seniors.”
Ray made all eight of his shots from the field. The Patriots were 7-18 last season in Lacey’s first year as the Patriot coach.
The other six teams entered in the three-day Holiday in the Pines tournament, that includes four games in each session, are defending champion Richmond Senior, Naesmond River (Va.), Heritage, Mount Zion Academy, Middle Creek and Southern Lee.
Lee County 6 13 8 11 — 38
Pinecrest 10 16 9 17 — 52
Lee County: H. Jackson 1 0-0 2, Watson 1 0-0 2, Smith 1 1-2 3, Dante Graham 2 0-0 4, T. Jackson 0 0-0 0, McEachin 7 7-12 21, Wells 0 2-2 2, McIver 1 0-0 2, Payne 1 0-0 2. Totals 14 10-16 38.
Pinecrest: Calhoun 2 0-0 4, Ragin 1 2-6 4, Ortiz 3 0-0 6, Cummings 5 1-2 13, Wooten 1 0-0 2, Martin-Calhoun 0 0-0 0, Ray 8 2-5 18, Brower 0 0-0 2, Justice 0 0-0 0, Painter 2 0-0 4. Totals 22 5-13 52.
Three-point goals: LC none; P 3 (Cummings 2, Ragin).
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