Patriots Fall in Battle for Second
A Pinecrest rally from an eight-point deficit with less than two minutes remaining in regulation came up short when a potential game-tying floater by Adam Cummings rimmed out of the cylinder.
The Patriots (14-7, 5-4) fell 49-47 to Richmond Senior (17-5, 7-2) in the fierce battle for a share of second place in the Southeastern Confer-ence.
The Patriots complete the regular season with a 7:30 p.m. contest tonight in Raeford against first-place Hoke County (21-2, 9-0).
“It was all the way down and it came back up,” Patriot coach Andrew Lacey said of the shot that left Cummings’ hand after a drive down the lane with about four seconds remaining. “If the shot had gone in it would have made up for everything we did wrong in the second half, and we would have had four more minutes.”
Going into arguably the team’s most important game in his two years as Patriot coach, Lacey was concerned about the effect on his players of the long senior night ceremony that would take place following the end of the girls’ game.
But perhaps inspired by the impressive procession that also included senior cheerleaders, swimmers and indoor track athletes, and a large and vocal student section, the Patriots were sharp right from the start.
Patiently working for good shots on offense, and battling the bigger Raiders to a standstill on the boards, Justin Ray, Trey Wooten and Cummings did most of the scoring during a 14-2 run to take a 23-10 second-quarter lead. The margin was 29-18 at the intermission.
“I was really disgusted at halftime with the 18 points,” Raiders coach David Laton said. “We started rebounding and playing defense better in the second half.”
Greg Patterson came off the Raider bench in the third period and helped get the Patriots out of their offense with his harassment of their guards.
The Patriots made just two-of-11 shots from the field, but still managed to take a 35-30 lead into the final eight minutes.
That’s when the Raider big men, 6-foot-3 Shydamion Ellerbe, and 6-4 Jordan Richardson, began having their way around the basket.
The pair accounted for 16 points, including two three-point plays by Ellerbe, during a 19-6 run that gave the visitors a 49-41 lead going into the final two minutes.
Those would be the Raiders’ final points. A free throw by Brendan Ortiz and a three by Sam Brower cut the deficit in half.
Cummings was fouled on a three-point attempt and canned two of the three free throws. Ortiz missed a shot at the 18.5 mark and the Raiders missed a pair of free throws before the shot by Cummings agonizingly spun out.
“I wish it went in, but it is what it is,” said Cummings, who led the Patriots with 15 points. “We came back and I’m proud of that, but I wish we could have won. We just didn’t rebound in the second half. They kept getting offensive rebounds.”
Seniors honored before the game were Ray, Brower, Cummings, Frankie Painter and Jermaine Martin-Calhoun. Junior Kardashian Ragin, who has been sidelined with a shoulder injury, has been cleared to return to action.
The Patriots have secured the third seed for next week’s conference tournament.
“I’m not taking anything away from our kids,” Lacey said summing up Tuesday’s game. “Our kids competed and played hard. They just didn’t finish the game.”
Richmond 10 8 12 19 — 49
Pinecrest 16 13 6 12 — 47
Richmond: Patterson 2 2-6 6, McDonald 3 0-1 6, Wallace 2 0-0 4, Calhoun 1 2-4 4, Ellerbe 8 2-6 18, Richardson 4 2-2 10, Davis 0 1-2 1, Neely 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 9-21 49.
Pinecrest: Martin-Calhoun 0 0-2 0, Ray 3 4-6 10, Calhoun 1 1-2 3, Brower 1 1-2 4, Winter-McRae 0 0-0 0, Justice 0 1-4 1, Ortiz 1 1-3 3, Cummings 4 6-7 15, Wooten 4 1-1 9, Painter 1 0-0 2. Totals 15 15-27 47.
Three-point goals: R none; P 2 (Brower, Cummings)
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