RED SPRINGS — Pacing the sideline during Friday night’s game at Whiteville, Red Springs coach Glenn Patterson could only shake his head and throw up his arms as his team missed shot after shot.
“I thought we came in flat,” Patterson said after the Red Devils’ 60-42 loss to the Wolfpack. “We didn’t hit any shots. When you’re playing a team like Whiteville, you have to hit open shots. They were on and we weren’t.”
Whiteville (11-4, 8-1 TRC) used a zone to stifle the Red Devils (9-9, 6-4), who were held without a field goal and outscored 17-9 in the final period.
The struggles started with Red Spring’s top scorer Caleel Mitchell, who scored six of his eight points from the free-throw line. Eric Graham also finished with eight points for the Red Devils, making a trio of layups and a pair of free throws.
“That was probably Caleel’s worst shooting night since his freshman year,” Patterson said. “When your big-time scorer can’t put it in the basket, you’re in trouble.”
The Red Devils made 13 field goals and 13 free throws in the game, suffering through several scoring droughts throughout the night, including a five-minute drought to start the third period. Shamar Bowers knocked down a 3-pointer with just over three minutes remaining to end the struggles. Jerome Bass made a layup to beat the buzzer, trimming the deficit to 43-33, but the Red Devils would get no closer.
“I thought they beat us in every aspect of the game,” Patterson said. “They outhustled us hitting the floor for balls, they got second and third opportunities at the basket and they capitalized on their opportunities with guys making shots.”
Whiteville led by as many as 25 points in the final period, seizing control with a 17-2 run capped by a Tyrell Kirk layup with 1:48 left to play. Kirk finished with 10 points for the Wolfpack, which won its eighth straight game to remain tied with St. Pauls atop the Three Rivers Conference standings.
Demetrius Brown and Bradley Pridgen finished with 12 points each to lead Whiteville.
The loss snaps a five-game winning streak for the Red Devils, who hope to finish the regular season strong next week.
“It’s always tough to come into Whiteville and win,” Patterson said. “We have to put this behind us. We have a very good West Columbus team to play on Tuesday. We’ll put up some shots (on Saturday) and try to iron out some things.”
Jones drops 38 to lead Lady Red Devils
Behind 38 points from Taya Jones, the Red Springs girls basketball team earned a 73-33 rout of Whiteville on Friday.
Jones knocked down six 3-pointers and nabbed eight steals to pace the Red Devils (13-5, 8-2 TRC), who won their fourth straight game.
Sha’nia Leach finished with 10 points and seven assists, with Kelsey Locklear adding eight points.
Rodd Baxley can be reached at 910-416-5182. Follow him on Twitter @RoddBaxley.