Patriot Girls Drop to Fifth With Loss to Rams
Going into Friday’s basketball game at Purnell Swett, the Pinecrest girls were well-positioned to take a step toward claiming a state playoff berth if they could defeat the Rams for the second time this season.
“I don’t understand,” Patriot coach Mike Loutzenheiser said after his team’s third anemic offensive performance in a row. “We talked all week about how important this game was.”
Trailing 34-22 through three quarters, Janea Williams and Felicia Painter sparked a 10-0 Patriot run. The Pats held the Rams without a field goal in the fourth period, but still ended up on the short end of a 37-32 decision.
Williams finished the game with 12 points and 21 rebounds. The loss left the Patriots in fifth place in the Southeastern Conference with a record of 3-5 and 10-11 overall. The Rams improved to 4-4 and 11-7.
The two teams combined to turn the ball over 30 times in a sloppy first half. The Rams led 23-17 at the intermission thanks to 18 points by Laura Bird. Four of the Patriot points came on buzzer-beating layups at the end of each period by Zuri Thomas. The junior also gave her team a lift with seven first-half rebounds.
Williams began dominating the boards in the third period, but baskets continued to be hard to come by and the Pats fell further behind.
The 6-foot-3 junior scored off her own miss to get the 10-0 fourth-quarter run under way. Morgan Braswell fed Williams for a basket and then Jasmine Chalmers drove for two more. Painter scored on a putback and then took a pass from Williams and canned a jumper, making it 34-32 with 2:16 remaining in the game.
The Patriots never got off another shot, turning the ball over on their last five possessions. Painter and Chalmers both fouled out. Hanging on for dear life, the Rams went three for six at the foul line for their only points of the quarter.
“Our guards just have to do a better job taking care of the basketball,” Loutzenheiser said.
Bird finished with 22 points for the Rams. Painter was also in double figures for the Pats with 11. The Rams took 26 free throws in the game, making 16. The Pats shot only five, making one.
“We shot really badly,” Louzenheiser said. “It was just a rough night. Felicia and Jasmine getting into foul trouble didn’t help us.”
The Patriots travel to Richmond senior on Tuesday for a 6 p.m. tip off. The current league standings are: Scotland 8-0, Richmond 5-3, Lumberton and Purnell Swett 4-4, Pinecrest 3-5 and Hoke County 0-8.
The Patriot junior varsity team improved to 7-1 in the conference and 17-5 overall with a 41-29 home victory over Purnell Swett. Alysha Gaffney led the winners with 11 points.
Pinecrest 9 8 5 10 — 32
Purnell Swett 11 12 11 3 — 37
Pinecrest: Chalmers 2 0-0 5, Waddell 0 0-0 0, Painter 5 1-3 11, Lynch 0 0-0 0, Williams 6 0-2 12, M. Thomas 0 0-0 0, Jones 0 0-0 0, Braswell 0 0-0 0, Z. Thomas 2 0-0 4. Totals 15 1-5 32.
Purnell Swett: J. Bird 1 0-0 2, Chavis 2 1-2 5, L. Bird 6 9-14 22, Lewis 1 4-8 6, Hunt 0 2-2 2, Sampson 0 0-0 0, McCollum 0 0-0 0. Totals 10 16-26 37.
Three-point goals: P 1 (Chalmers); PS 1 (L. Bird).
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