LUMBERTON — After he left Lumberton’s game against Jack Britt with an injury in the second quarter, Steph Lloyd had plenty of motivation to stay focused.
“My teammates talked to me, and told me to keep my head in the game,” Lloyd said. “That’s what I did.”
Lloyd’s eventual return proved to be critical for the Pirates (4-4, 1-1 SAC). The senior notched a second-chance layup with less than five seconds left on the clock to secure a 51-50 victory over the Buccaneers (4-2, 1-1 SAC) on Friday night.
Lloyd tallied 12 points to go along with five assists. Jordan McNeil registered a team-high 13 points and 10 rebounds, including nine offensive boards.
“We’ve had a lot of close games these past few weeks,” said Matt Hill, Lumberton’s head coach. “Some hadn’t gone our way. The kids kept fighting, and it prepared us for the stressful situation tonight.”
Braylan Grice and Lacy Mitchell contributed to the Pirates’ effort on the boards with 11 and 10, respectively. The hosts used their advantage on the glass to make clutch plays, especially in the early stages of the contest.
“We got bullied,” said Isaiah Walker, Jack Britt’s head coach. “I thought they had their way with us in the first quarter, and I thought we had kind of turned a corner in the second quarter. When Zac Hill fouled out with about 3:30 left, it was tough. We were undersized.”
Calvin Washington led the Buccaneers with 15 points. Eli O’Neal contributed 10 points for the visitors.
A layup by O’Neal gave Jack Britt a 44-41 lead early in the fourth quarter, but it wouldn’t be able to build on that advantage. The Pirates gained momentum when Grice connected in the paint on consecutive possessions, putting Lumberton ahead 47-44 with just under three minutes on the clock.
The Buccaneers took the lead for the last time on a layup by Barry Elliott with less than a minute left in the game, but Lloyd’s last-second score forced them to run the length of the floor as time expired. Washington’s attempt from beyond the arc at the buzzer didn’t connect.
Lumberton travels to Seventy-First on Tuesday, while Jack Britt hosts Richmond.
Lady Pirates Dominate Buccaneers
The Lumberton girls basketball team is starting to see results from extended conditioning work in practice.
“We’ve improved on our running,” said junior forward Madison Canady. “We run a lot in practice now.”
The Lady Pirates (7-1, 2-0 SAC) had more than enough energy to defeat Jack Britt (1-4, 0-1 SAC) on Friday night, as they earned a 76-34 victory behind 27 points and 14 rebounds from Canady.
“I thought that was the best overall game we’ve played as far as team play and movement of the ball,” said Lumberton head coach Danny Graham. “We really played well together, and I thought London Thompson ran the team really well tonight. She got everybody orchestrated, and every girl on the team played hard and contributed something to the win.”
Rachel O’Neil tallied 18 points and hit four 3-pointers. She also picked up five steals and four assists. Thompson added 12 points, 11 assists and seven steals after being held scoreless in the first half.
The Lady Pirates held a 34-15 advantage at halftime and didn’t let the Buccaneers threaten their lead for the rest of the game.
“The lesson at halftime was to come out in the third quarter and play hard,” Graham said.
“I don’t feel like we took any pressure off (in the second half),” Canady said. “We just kept going and got a bigger lead so they couldn’t come back.”
Red Devils sweep East Bladen
RED SPRINGS — East Bladen didn’t have any luck on its trip to Red Springs, as the Red Devils won both matchups against the Eagles on Friday.
The Lady Red Devils used a dominant performance by Taya Jones to defeat the Eagles 43-35.
Jones registered 25 points, five rebounds and four steals for the hosts. Taylynn Atkinson added six points and six rebounds.
It was the team’s third consecutive win for the girls team after it dropped the first two games of the season to Lumberton.
In the boys game, Red Springs ran away with a 77-39 victory. Caleel Mitchell tallied 19 points, six steals and four rebounds to pace the Red Devils. Jayshawn Carthens had 13 points, three assists and three rebounds.
Scotland takes two from Purnell Swett
LAURINBURG — Scotland won both games of the Sandhills Athletic Conference doubleheader over Purnell Swett at home on Friday.
In the girls game, the Lady Scots breezed past the Lady Rams in the 48-13 win. Tiana Jacobs had six points and Nakyra Mitchell added five for Purnell Swett.
Purnell Swett’s boys team struggled offensively in the first half of its 67-47 loss. The Rams posted nine first-half points in the loss. David Campbell had 11 points and Keagan Brayboy scored 10 to lead the Rams.
In other county action, Whiteville won both games over South Robeson. In the girls game, Whiteville topped the Lady Mustangs, 40-28, and the Whiteville boys inched out a 55-53 win over South Robeson for the Mustangs’ second two-point loss this week.
Reach Brandon Tester at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Tester_Brandon