LUMBERTON — Four of Robeson County’s high school basketball teams kept their seasons alive with wins in the NCHSAA state playoffs on Tuesday.
The journey continues with Thursday’s second round, which includes three home games for county teams.
No. 14 St. Pauls at No. 1 Greene Central
The Bulldogs are coming off the best win of any county team after defeating Farmville Central, the defending 2A state champions, to earn their first playoff win since 2011.
Now, St. Pauls travels to top-seeded Greene Central, one of the favorites to win this year’s 2A title. Coming off its first loss of the season in the Eastern Carolina Conference tournament, the Rams took out their frustration on North Johnston with a 30-point drubbing on Tuesday.
A team boisting tremendous size, the Rams are led by 6-foot-7 sophomore Imajae Dodd. Dodd scored 13 points in the first round, with Torrence Clark adding 18 to provide the outside scoring.
This is the biggest team St. Pauls has faced this season. Isaiah Harlee, coming off 15 points against Farmville Central, and Cole Humphrey, who scored a team-best 20 points in the first round, will need to be at their best if the Bulldogs hope to keep their playoff run alive.
No. 14 Leesville Road at No. 2 Lumberton
So much for a first-round scare. The Lady Pirates made quick work of Wakefield in a 30-point rout on Tuesday. Lumberton will face its second opponent from the Cap-8 Conference on Thursday when Leesville Road comes to town. The Pride claimed a 62-52 win over Cary to advance.
A 20-win team, Leesville Road is led by senior captain Ashley Gill and super sophomore Brittany Staves. Staves dropped 28 points in the first round, with Gill adding 19.
Lumberton will continue to look to its trio of Madision Canady, Jasmine McBride and London Thompson for most of the offensive production. Canady logged a team-high 20 points in Tuesday’s win, with McBride adding 12 points and nine rebounds. Thompson finished with 16 points.
But Leesville Road’s main concern should be Lumberton’s full-court pressure defense. If the Lady Pirates come out of the gate ready to play, it could be a long night for the Pride.
No. 11 North Pitt at No. 5 Fairmont
Winning in the playoffs is nothing new for the Golden Tornadoes, who will be looking for their sixth straight appearance in the third round when they face North Pitt on Thursday.
Fairmont earned an 86-55 win over Currituck County on Tuesday, with Corry Addison scoring 19 points to pace the Golden Tornadoes, who had four players log double-figure scoring efforts.
Fairmont’s Derrick Arnette, arguably the best defender in the county, will likely be matched up with North Pitt’s Devonte Pettaway, who scored 35 points in the Panthers’ win over Red Springs on Thursday.
No. 9 Northside-Jacksonville at No. 6 Red Springs
Red Springs advanced to the second round for the third consecutive season, but is looking to get over the second-round hump against Northside-Jacksonville on Thursday.
Taya Jones led Red Springs with 18 points and five steals in the Lady Red Devils’ 65-52 win over Currituck County on Tuesday, while Victoria Hendrson added 14 points and Taylynn Atkinson and Sanastasia Powell chipped in 10 points each.
Red Springs will need to bring another balanced attack against the Lady Monarchs, who claimed a 64-32 win over Fairmont in the first round. Timia Grant and Kayla Stephens scored 15 points each to lead Northside.
Rodd Baxley can be reached at 910-416-5182. Follow him on Twitter @RoddBaxley.