Patriot Girls Top Raiders
Ten Pinecrest seniors added another pleasant chapter to their high school basketball careers by defeating Richmond Senior 56-41 Tuesday evening.
Janea Williams led the Patriots with 19 points and a dozen rebounds with her future coach at the University of North Florida, Mary Tappmeyer, looking on. Another senior, Megan Thomas, went four-for-five from the field and made both of her free throws, scoring a season-high 12 points.
Coach Janie Hodges’ squad takes an overall record of 13-8, and a 6-3 mark in the Southeastern Conference, into tonight’s 6 p.m. final regular season game at Hoke County.
“This group of seniors is phenomenal,” Hodges said. “They came in and worked hard and did everything I asked them to do. We’re going to miss them next year.”
The Raiders (4-14, 3-6) led 15-13 at the end of the first quarter. But the Patriots never trailed again after a slick feed from Williams to Felicia Painter for a layup gave them a 16-15 lead.
The Patriot advantage was a slim 31-27 at the intermission, but with eight points, five rebounds, four blocked shots, two steals and a pair of assists, the 6-foot-3 Williams had already shown Tappmeyer all phases of her game.
“She’s going to be a very special player,” the coach said one night after her team lost a game in Kennesaw, Ga. “The strength and conditioning factor will probably make the biggest impact on her as a player at the college level.”
The Raiders were within a point at 33-32 in the third quarter when the second three of the game by Thomas helped get the home team going again.
“For me on senior night I wanted to come out strong and our team wanted to come out strong,” she said. “That three I hit sparked us and we all came together. The big crowd got us pumped up to begin with.”
Midway through the fourth, a three by Keegan Lynch made the margin a comfortable 51-38.
“When we slow things down,” Williams said, “things work out. When we rush things we start having turnovers and make mistakes. We’ve got it all under control.”
Lynch, Thomas, Williams and Painter, who returned after missing the last two games with an ankle injury, are all four-year varsity players and three-sport athletes at Pinecrest.
The other senior basketball players honored between the girls’ and boys’ games, along with senior cheerleaders, swimmers and indoor track participants, were Dessence Waddell, Brianna Alston, Azzariah Fairley, Morgan Braswell, Natoya Lacy and Zuri Thomas. Senior student managers Ariel Blount, Brianna Covington and Tayvonnia Campbell were also recognized.
Williams, who Tappmeyer says has a 30-inch vertical leap and is dunking the basketball regularly in practice, wasn’t aware she was being scouted.
“It was a big surprise,” Williams said. “She loves doing sneak attacks. I’m excited she came.”
The University of North Florida is located in Jacksonville. It was the Osprey coach’s second visit to Pinecrest.
Three sets of twins were involved in the basketball part of the senior night introductions. They are Williams and her brother Ben, Felicia and Frankie Painter, and Natoya and Nick Lacy.
Richmond 15 12 7 7 — 41
Pinecrest 13 18 13 12 — 56
Richmond: Keane 2 1-2 7, Stanback 1 2-2 4, Ellerbe 0 1-2 1, Douglas 2 0-0 5, Wall 2 1-2 6, Evans 5 2-5 12, Ewing 2 2-2 2. Totals 14 9-15 41.
Pinecrest: Waddell 0 0-0 0, Painter 3 1-2 7, Lynch 1 0-0 3, M. Thomas 4 2-2 12, Williams 8 3-5 19, Chalmers 4 0-1 9, Alston 0 1-2 1, Fairley 1 0-0 2, Braswell 0 1-4 1, Lacy 0 0-0 0, Gaffney 0 0-0 0, Z. Thomas 1 0-0 2. Totals 22 8-16 56.
Three-point goals: R 4 (Keane 2, Douglas, Wall); P 4 (M. Thomas 2, Lynch, Chalmers).
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