Scotland County did Pinecrest a big favor Friday in Sandhills Athletic Conference basketball action.
The Fighting Scots knocked off Richmond Senior 57-54 in Laurinburg. That result, combined with the Patriots 54-43 win over Hoke County in Raeford, pushed Pinecrest into the top spot of the conference standings.
Pinecrest is now 6-1 in the conference (15-2 overall) while Richmond fell to 5-2. Lurking right behind is Lumberton at 4-1.
In the Patriots’ win Friday, the Hoke County Bucks put the clamps on Patriot star Bradlee Haskell, holding the junior point guard to a season-low five points. He did grab eight rebounds and dish out two assists.
But the Bucks had no answer for Patriot seniors Dillon Drennan and Will Bode. Drennan finished with a game-high 20 points, including hitting five three-pointers, while Bode claimed a double-double, finishing with 16 points and 10 rebounds. He also added three assists and two steals to his stat line.
The Patriots thrived behind the arc, nailing 10 threes in all. Sam Stolz added nine points for the Pats with all of them coming on treys.
In a game that was tied at halftime, the Patriots used a 19-2 advantage in the third quarter to take control of the contest.
Pinecrest had an uncharacteristic 23 turnovers in the game.
Pinecrest head coach Ben Snyder likes to say that basketball is a game of runs. That was true Tuesday when the Patriots knocked off conference foe 57-40 in James Moore Gymnasium.
The Patriots had the first run, taking a 17-5 first-quarter lead behind six points from JJ Goins and steady defensive pressure. But the Bucs took advantage of the absence of Haskell to turn the tables in the second quarter, cutting the lead to 24-22 by halftime.
Haskell picked up his second foul with about six minutes left in the quarter and sat on the bench until halftime.
Haskell knocked a three-pointer to start the scoring in the third quarter, propelling the Patriots on a 17-4 run in the period. Included in that run were three steals by Drennan that he converted into coast-to-coast layups. The Patriots had 11 steals in the game, with Drennan collecting five of them.
The two teams traded baskets in the fourth quarter, bringing in the final 57-40 count.
In addition to his steals, Drennan finished with a team-high four rebounds and added 10 points.
Bode also finished with 10 points while Haskell had his usual all-around game, finishing with a game-high 15 points, including three treys, three rebounds and three assists. Stolz had nine points, all from behind the arc, three assists and three rebounds.
Langston Davis led the Bucs with 12 points.
Pinecrest will travel to Fayetteville Friday to take on Seventy-First in another conference clash. The two teams met at Pinecrest Dec. 6, with the Patriots claiming a 58-37 win.