Hoke Holds Off Pinecrest Boys
A gritty senior night effort by the Pinecrest boys’ basketball team fell short against regular-season conference champion Hoke County Friday night.
The Patriots (7-17, 2-8) dropped their sixth game in a row to the taller and surer-handed Bucks (19-2, 9-1). Traivon Williams, one of two seniors likely playing their final game at James Moore Gymnasium, led the home side with 17 points, 16 rebounds and three steals.
It is single-elimination time for coach Andrew Lacey’s squad that won’t make the state tournament without doing something spectacular in the Southeastern Conference tournament. The Pats are scheduled to meet Richmond Senior (16-5, 5-5) at 7 p.m. on Monday in a first-round game in Rockingham.
“We’ve kept pecking away at this thing all year,” Lacey said, noting the competitive performances against No. 8 ranked Hoke (NCPreps poll) and Richmond, another one of the league’s hottest teams, in the last two games. “The old adage is you want to be playing your best basketball, or close to your best basketball, at the end of the season and tournament time.”
The Patriots could have easily decided to pack this one in after three treys in a row by Juwane Harris turned a one-point deficit into a 21-11 Buck lead early in the second quarter. About a minute later, Williams, who had six points and six rebounds in a powerful first period, picked up his third foul.
“I said to myself I let the team down,” Williams said. “When I got back in there I just kept going, playing tough.”
Two second-quarter threes by Adam Cummings, and one by Sam Brower, helped keep the Patriots from falling much further behind. A putback by Buck star Tarique Thompson made it 35-24 at the intermission.
Early in the third period, a basket inside by senior Jordan Fields, and another three by Cummings off an assist from Justin Ray, made it 39-31. Turnovers, and the Bucks superiority on the boards, contributed to a 10-2 run that spread things out again.
But the Patriots got the lively home crowd excited one more time. A 9-2 run that included a Williams’ jumper off a pass from Fields, and then a spectacular flush of a teammate’s miss by Williams, made it 61-52 with 6:50 still remaining in the game. The two teams then exchanged points down the stretch.
Cummings with 13 points, and Brower with 10, combined for six threes. Thompson led the Bucks with 19.
Fields, who plans to attend UNC-Pembroke after graduation and study graphics design, said that he wasn’t nervous about making his first varsity start. His four points included the second Patriot basket of the game.
“My teammates made me feel comfortable,” Fields said, “so I was relaxed and did whatever I could do.”
Williams has received interest from colleges about playing both basketball and football, but is undecided about a field of study. Another senior, team manager Kendric Baynard, plans to study information technology at Wake Tech.
Fields was asked what he has learned from the basketball experience at Pinecrest.
“I’ve learned to rely on other people and not just play for myself, but for the team,” he said. “And to understand my role and execute it every day not only to make me better, but my other players better as well.”
Patriot students supported their teams’ well this season and may have aided in getting a call reversed in their team’s favor. When a second half out-of-bounds ruling went against the Patriots right in front of them, they voiced their disapproval. In an example of some good officiating, two of the referees huddled and then awarded the ball to the home team.
Hoke 18 17 16 10 — 61
Pinecrest 11 13 16 12 — 52
Hoke: Harris 4 0-0 11, Robinson 1 0-0 3, Wright 3 0-0 6, Parker 1 0-0 2, Blue 2 0-0 4, Thompson 9 0-5 19, Freeman 0 3-5 3, Book 6 0-3 13. Totals 26 3-13 61.
Pinecrest: Ray 1 0-0 2, Ortiz 1 2-4 4, Cummings 4 1-3 13, Fields 2 0-0 4, Williams 8 1-2 17, Painter 1 0-0 2, Brower 4 0-3 10, Martin-Calhoun 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 4-9 52.
Three-point goals: H 6 (Harris 4, Thompson, Book); P 6 (Cummings 4, Brower 2).
More like this story