Consider senior Brian Phillips, who came off the bench to start the year, a likely mainstay.
Plugged in as the Pirates starting center, Phillips posted 12 points and hauled in seven rebounds, helping Lumberton pull away from South Robeson, 83-60, in the opening round of the Robeson County Shootout on Wednesday at Lumberton High.
Lumberton (2-5) hosts Dillon, an upset winner over top-seeded Fairmont, in Friday’s semifinals.
“He does a little bit of everything,” Register said of Phillips. “He can shoot the mid-range jumper. He’s really aggressive going to get the offensive and defensive rebounds. He can block some shots. He can play defense.”
Phillips pumped in six points — a pair of put-backs and two free throws — during the Pirates’ 11-2 run in the third quarter that pushed their lead to double-digits for good.
“Coach tells me to hustle and that’s really what I try to do,” Phillips said. “I’m not the biggest guy but I’m really quick on my feet and I can play multiple positions.”
Along with playing center, Phillips, who stands 6-foot-1, spent time at the small and power forward slots Wednesday night.
“He’s real versatile for us,” Register said. “We play him anywhere from a 3 to a 5. Right now he’s starting at the 5 at 6-1. That’s definitely undersized with every center he’s playing against. But he’s been in the weight room and he’s quick and can jump out of the gym — and all those qualities help.”
Lumberton jumped out to an 18-10 lead after one period of play, capped by Phillips finishing down low on a no-look dish from Darius Floyd. South Robeson made its strongest push in the second quarter, cutting the gap to as close as three, 24-21, with 3:38 left in the first half after a breakaway layup from Anthony Galbreath.
But it didn’t stay a one-possession game for long.
Travis Suggs quickly responded with a tear-drop that triggered a 13-5 Pirates’ run that gave them a 37-26 lead at halftime. Lumberton swelled the lead to 20 in the third quarter, sparked by a 2-2-1 press that led to a slew of fastbreak buckets. Logan Fredrick’s put-back at 1:46 made it a 20-point game for the first time at 57-37.
The Mustangs got a blip of momentum early in the fourth when Reggie Scippio, who netted a game-high 19 points, put the crowd on its feet with a one-handed breakaway dunk after stripping a pass at midcourt. But the Pirates were not to be outdone in the dunking department either.
Minutes later, Lumberton point guard Montrae Strother sent down a one-handed jam and then followed it with a two-handed near-dunk — the ball sprang in-and-out and back in off the backboard as Strother slid off the rim. Strother finished with a team-high 14 points. Demetri Sheridan and Jez Deese chipped in 11 and 10, respectively. Justice Sampson added nine points.
“Being at home, we wanted it,” Register said. “Now we get to stay at home on Friday night, so it was real important to get this first one. We played a tough schedule and hopefully all are hard work is starting to pay off for us.”
Added Phillips: “I think we needed to come out and make a statement. That Lumberton is in this Shootout and that we’re coming to win and we’re coming hard.”
Lumberton girls rout Mustangs
The Lumberton girls basketball team’s stifling fullcourt press paved the way to a 55-24 rout of South Robeson on Wednesday in opening-round action of the Robeson County Shootout at Lumberton High.
Lumberton held South Robeson scoreless through the first six minutes, building a 16-0 command led by Aliyah Ratley. The senior forward paced the Lady Pirates on both ends of the floor, finishing with a team-high 14 points and five steals.
Azaya Graham, Jordan Jones and Raven Ingram chipped in nine points apiece. Trailing 18-2 after the first quarter, the Lady Mustangs made their first field goal at 7:35 in the second on a breakaway layup by Savannah Hunt.
South Robeson managed to see-saw with Lumberton in the frame, scoring 10 to the Pirates’ 12, thanks to freshman A’terria Quick’s six-point frame. Quick finished with a game-high 15 points. The Lady Pirates responded with a 16-1 advantage in the third to run away with the Shootout win.
Lumberton will host Fairmont, which edged Dillon, in the semifinals Friday.
GIRLS: Lumberton 55, South Robeson 24
LHS 18 12 16 9 — 55; SR 2 10 1 11 — 24
Lumberton — Aliyah Ratley 14, Graham 9, Jones 9, Ingram 9, McNeill 8, Singeltary 4, Sampson 2, McBride 1; South Robeson — A’terria Quick 15, McCormick 3, Stackhouse 2, Dickens 2, Hunt 2; 3-Point Goals — LHS: Graham. SR: Quick 2.
BOYS: Lumberton 83, South Robeson 60
LHS 18 19 24 22 — 83; SR 10 16 15 19 — 60
Lumberton — Montrae Strother 14, Brian Phillips 12, Demetri Sheridan 11, Jez Deese 10, Sampson 9, Travis Suggs 6, Johnson 5, Williams 4, Brock 4, Stuart 3, Floyd 2, Fredrick 2; South Robeson — Reggie Scippio 19, Michael Smith 10, Anthony Galbreath 10, Thompson 7, Rowdy 6, Thomas 4, Williams 2, Jones 2; 3-Point Goals — LHS: Sampson 2, Strother, Johnson. SR: Smith 2, Galbreath. Records — Lumberton 2-5, South Robeson 0-6.