Patriot Girls Surrender Big Lead in Loss to Pirates
A spectacular four minutes of team basketball at the start of the third quarter spurred a 12-2 run that staked the Pinecrest girls to a seemingly comfortable 34-19 lead against Lumberton Friday evening.
Then something went terribly wrong for the Patriots. The visiting Pirates scored 20 of the next 24 points. The final outcome was a 47-42 loss in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams.
Idle until a game next Friday at Purnell Swett because of exams, coach Janie Hodges’ squad dropped to 7-6 while the Pirates improved to 10-3.
For two and a-half quarters, the Patriots took advantage of the inside dominance of their double-double duo of 6-foot-3 Janea Williams and 6-0 Felicia Painter as well as they have all season. Even with Williams spending much of the second quarter on the bench with three fouls, the pair combined for 17 points as the Pats took a 22-17 lead into the intermission.
Senior guards Keegan Lynch and Megan Thomas orchestrated a crisp passing offense that put the Pirates on their heels in a turnover-free first four minutes of the third period.
Lynch assisted twice and Painter once on three quick baskets by Williams. Then it was Thomas to Painter for two more points. A basket by the Pirates’ Jordan Jones interrupted the spree, but Lynch fed Williams for two on an inbounds play and then was fouled in the act and converted both free throws, making it 34-19.
But the disciplined Patriot offense suddenly converted to a series of dribble-drives to nowhere, leading to turnovers and forced shots. Williams, who finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Painter, who scored 14 to go with 13 boards, got few shot opportunities the rest of the way.
Led by Aliyah Ratley and Keanna McNeill, coach Danny Graham’s Pirates gained new life and showed a lot of poise to go with it. They went in front for the first time with two minutes remaining at 39-38 on a basket by McNeill.
“We turned the ball over a lot and just didn’t execute,” Hodges said afterward. “We got frazzled and stopped playing our game. We shut down when they started making the comeback.”
Lynch passed to Williams for a fast-break basket to put the Pats in front for the last time at 42-41 with 59.3 remaining. The Patriots had three fouls to give, but allowed Ratley to attack the basket right away and earn the two free throws that provided the decisive points.
“It was a tough loss tonight,” the Patriot coach said.
Lumberton 7 10 6 24 — 47
Pinecrest 8 14 12 8 — 42
Lumberton: Graham 2 2-2 8, Ingram 0 0-0 0, Ratley 5 3-6 13, McNeill 3 7-8 14, McCoy 2 0-0 4, Singletary 2 0-0 4, Jones 2 0-0 4. Totals 16 12-16 47.
Pinecrest: Chalmers 0 0-0 0, Painter 6 2-2 14, Lynch 1 2-2 5, Lawhon 0 0-0 0, Williams 8 1-2 17, Waddell 1 0-0 2, M. Thomas 1 0-0 2, Alston 1 0-6 2, Paran 0 0-0 0, Gaffney 0 0-0 0, Fairley 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 5-12 42.
Three-point goals: L 4 (Graham 2, McNeill); P 1 (Lynch).
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