FAIRMONT — The Fairmont boys basketball team was in vintage form on Friday night.
In the first half of its 76-68 win over in-county rival Lumberton, the Golden Tornadoes forced 20 first-half turnovers to set the tone for the rest of the night.
It was a season-opening performance that caught Fairmont coach Montrell McNair by surprise.
“I was excited about it. I didn’t think they were going to play that good of defense coming off the football field with a little rust,” McNair said.
“They surprised me with the intensity they played with. I’m excited for them and they’re going to get better from here if they keep working hard in practice. … That foundation we started, we need to keep building on it.”
Seniors Corry Addison and Derrick Arnette set the tone for the Golden Tornadoes (1-0) with their patented full-court pressure, forcing the Pirates (1-1) into 33 turnovers on the night.
Addison scored 26 points to pace Fairmont, which led by as many as 21 points in the second half. Javon Morris dropped 13 points and Arnette finished with 10 for the hosts.
Led by sophomore Jordan McNeill, who scored a game-high 27 points, the Pirates battled back in the fourth quarter and outscored Fairmont 24-11 for the final tally. Kwashek Breeden added 14 points and Steph Lloyd had 11.
Both teams had an abysmal night at the free-throw line, combining to miss 40 freebies. Lumberton finished 14 of 38 from the charity stripe, with Fairmont knocking down just 19 of 35.
Fairmont used 26 second-quarter points to carry a 42-29 lead into the break.
O’Neil helps Lumberton girls rout Fairmont
Junior Rachel O’Neil scored a team-best 15 points to help the Lumberton girls basketball team open its season with a 73-31 win at Fairmont on Friday.
Senior London Thompson added 13 points and freshman August Smith logged 12 points for the Lady Pirates (1-0), who led 37-15 at the half.
Kiara Page logged a double-double for the Lady Golden Tornadoes (0-1), scoring a game-high 22 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
Rodd Baxley can be reached at 910-416-5182. Follow him on Twitter @RoddBaxley.