Lumberton Eliminates Pat Girls from Tourney
The Lumberton girls brought the ball up court in the final half-minute of regulation of Tuesday’s conference tournament basketball game against Pinecrest trailing by three points. The Patriot players and coaches had one thought in mind.
“Don’t give up the three,” Felicia Painter, whose two free throws seconds earlier had given the Patriots a 43-40 lead, said afterward.
Somehow in the excitement the Pats lost track of 5-foot guard Destiny McCoy, who drained the three that sent the game into overtime. Azaya Graham then sank her fourth and fifth treys of the contest to start the extra period. The final outcome was a 55-47 Patriot loss, the third to the Pirates this season.
Janea Williams scored 16 points and grabbed a dozen rebounds for Pinecrest. Painter also had a double-double with 13 points and 16 boards. Graham led the winners with 17 points.
As the fifth-place team from the six-team Southeastern Conference, and with an overall record of 11-13, the Patriots are unlikely to get an invitation to the state 4-A playoffs beginning next week.
Just over two weeks ago, the Patriots lost a double-digit lead at home against the Pirates. Late in the second quarter of this one, they had 10 fouls called against them to just two for the home team when a three-point play by Painter gave them a 22-21 lead.
The Patriots held the Pirates to just one field goal in the period and led 25-21 at the intermission, but starters Williams and Jasmine Chalmers already had three fouls each. A jumper by Williams and one-for-two at the foul line by Chalmers gave the Pats their biggest lead at 30-21 with 5:20 remaining in the third quarter.
While holding a 31-28 lead late in the third, Williams and Chalmers both picked up their fourth fouls in rapid succession. Painter had three.
“We got to the point where we were so worried about fouls that it prevented us from being as aggressive,” Painter said. “I won’t say we held back, but we kind of had to play smart.”
The Pirates took a 36-35 lead with 4:30 remaining in the game on a three by Graham. But a putback by Painter and a three by Chalmers, off an assist from Megan Thomas, made it 40-36 at the 2:50 mark.
Turnovers and missed free throws by the Pats, and four misses in a row at the line by the Pirates, led up to the free throws by Painter that almost won the game and the three by McCoy that sent it to overtime.
“I thought we had them,” Patriot coach Mike Loutzenheiser said. “We worked hard and just got a little lost and gave up that wide-open three. That just deflated us I think.”
The final foul count was 25 for the Patriots to 15 for the home team. Painter, Chalmers and Thomas all fouled out. The Pirates (14-10) were scheduled to meet first-seed Scotland County in one of Thursday’s semifinal games.
“It was right there,” Painter said of the opportunity to close the game out. “We weren’t able to pull it off, but we’ll all be back next year.”
Purnell Swett, led by 40 points and 15 rebounds from Laura Bird, also advanced with a double-overtime win over Hoke County.
Pinecrest 13 12 6 12 4 — 47
Lumberton 18 3 9 13 12 — 55
Pinecrest: Chalmers 2 4-8 9, Painter 5 3-3 13, Lynch 2 1-3 5, Thomas 1 0-0 3, Williams 7 2-4 16, Waddell 0 0-0 0, Fairley 0 0-0 0, Braswell 0 1-2 1, Thigpen 0 0-0 0, Gaffney 0 0-0 0, Paran 0 0-0 0, Butler 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 11-20 47.
Lumberton: D. McCoy 3 2-4 9, Graham 5 2-4 17, Ingram 0 0-2 0, Ratliff 3 4-7 10, McNeill 3 3-4 9, Brown 0 4-6 4, M. McCoy 2 1-3 5, Jones 0 1-4 1. Totals 16 17-34 55.
Three-point goals: P 2 (Thomas, Chalmers); L 6 (Graham 5, D. McCoy).
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