The veteran coach of Lumberton’s girls basketball team was disgusted by 15 first-half turnovers and an out-of-sync offense against the upset-minded 2-9 Bucks.
“We were playing sloppy with lots of turnovers,” Graham said. “We didn’t have a very good practice (Monday) night and practice carries over into games.”
Jordan Jones and Maya McCoy provided just enough boost for the Pirates in the fourth quarter as Lumberton held on to win its second game in the Southeastern Conference, 68-66.
After trailing by as many as 12 in the third quarter, Courtney Pate pulled the Bucks within two at 65-63 with 55 seconds left with a mid-range jumper. McCoy answered with a putback at the other end off a feed from Jones to put the Pirates up two possessions.
Jones and McCoy dominated the low block down the stretch to help Lumberton (10-5, 2-0) overcome a contest filled with miscues and bad execution.
“We need to work on effort and focus. Those are the biggest things,” Graham said. “We didn’t give great effort, but it’s a win and we’ll take it. We’ll need to play better to win (Friday) at Richmond.”
Jones scored 11 of her 17 points in the final stanza as the Pirates fought off multiple rallies from the Bucks. McCoy finished with 14 points while Raven Ingram lit up Hoke with a handful of perimeter jumpers. Ingram finished with 16 points and three steals.
Three players reached double figures for the Bucks, led by Ayana Pegues’ 20 points.
McRae’s 26 points not enough for Pirates
Lumberton’s boys basketball team fought off a nine-point deficit with 4:11 to play Tuesday but couldn’t overcome defensive rebounding problems in a 72-70 loss at Hoke.
Christian McRae, who scored 26 points, tied the game twice in the final 1:54 for the Pirates (9-6, 1-1), but couldn’t get the ball on Lumberton’s last possession as the length-of-the-floor inbounds pass was thrown away with 0.5 of a second to play.
Hoke’s Tarique Thompson put the Bucks up three with 22 seconds remaining on a putback, but the Pirates quickly pulled within one after Austin McNeill hit two free throws after being fouled on a drive the other end.
In need of a stop or quick foul, Lumberton fouled Darius Book who hit 1-of-2 to prove the final tally.
Thompson scored 18 points and pulled down 11 rebounds for the Bucks (11-1, 2-0), five coming on the offensive glass leading to 10 second-chance points. Hoke’s Brennen Wright hit four 3-pointers on his way to a team-high 20.
Matched up against taller guards most of the contest, Lumberton’s Floyd Strother scored 17 points and consistently got to the rim against Hoke’s athletic frontline.
The Bucks were whistled for two technicals and had a player ejected in a highly-competitive fourth quarter. Thompson put Hoke ahead 63-54 with under five minutes to play after a one-handed dunk capped a 6-0 run. He was called for a technical seconds later after flexing his muscles while he headed to the other end of the floor.
McRae’s heroics in the final two minutes wasn’t enough as the Pirates dropped to 1-1 in the Southeastern Conference. Lumberton travels to unbeaten Richmond on Friday.
Reach Staff writer Brad Crawford at 910-272-6119 or at firstname.lastname@example.org