Keyed by a first-half scoring run fueled by defense, the Red Devils never trailed in the contest and cruised to a 62-48 decision over Travis Lemanski’s Bulldogs.
The win gave the Red Devils their 12th consecutive victory at home dating back to Dec. 8, 2009.
“I thought we played with a lot of energy and we needed to do that in a rivalry game like this,” Red Springs coach Glenn Patterson said. “We played in front of a packed house and we want these fans to keep coming. I liked our intensity tonight and we fed off the crowd.”
The Red Devils (4-1) jumped out to a 15-3 lead in the first five minutes, triggered by consecutive layups from Glenn Patterson Jr. and a 3-pointer by Jeremy McDowell. Five different players scored during the run that was aided by six St. Pauls turnovers.
Red Springs’ first-half lead swelled to as many as 14 before Antonio Henderson brought St. Pauls back to within eight at 30-22 following a breakaway dunk with 1:21 left in the second quarter.
“St. Pauls is an athletic team, much like Pinecrest and Fairmont,” Patterson said. “At times, they made us rush our offense a bit. We did a good job in the second half of making them play our game and we were able to force some key turnovers.”
Patterson Jr. and McDowell both reached double figures for the Red Devils, contributing 15 and 11 points, respectively.
The Bulldogs (3-4), coming off a road loss to East Bladen, were led by Anthony Sansbury’s 11-point effort.
Red Springs returns to the court Tuesday to face Pinecrest, the team that gave the Red Devils that last home defeat.
Red Devils get first win
RED SPRINGS — For the first time this season, the post-game victory cheers were coming from inside the Red Springs girls basketball team’s locker room.
The Red Devils held on to beat St. Pauls 43-36 Friday night, overcoming a dreadful night at the free-throw line to pick up their first win in five tries.
“A lot of teams are under-estimating us,” Red Springs coach Katasha Oxendine said. “These girls have had two coaches the last two years. We are still trying to build chemistry and I’ll think we’ll be fine once we get that.”
The Red Devils made just 19-of-39 free throws in the contest but senior forward Shakia Murray hit 6-of-8 attempts in the final quarter to seal the win. Murray finished with 12 points while guard Robyn McPhaul scored a game-high 15.
“We found a way to hang on and win this one tonight,” Oxendine said. “Shakia stepped up big for us and that’s what seniors are supposed to do. Jamie (Bounds) and Christina (Campbell) also did a fantastic job in the post.”
After trailing by 13 with 4:41 left in the second quarter, St. Pauls tied the game at 30 with five minutes left in the fourth quarter after Bianca Harris made a 10-foot jumper from the left baseline. Turnovers and missed shots from close range doomed the Bulldogs down the stretch, leading to their third loss in five games.