LUMBERTON — The Lumberton boys basketball team didn’t bring the energy as a whole on Wednesday night in its game against South Robeson.
Thankfully, the Pirates had Steph Lloyd, Caleb Kelly and Brion Willis to pick up the slack in a 72-57 win over the Mustangs in the opening round of the Robeson County Shootout.
Lloyd scored a game-high 28 points to lead the Pirates (5-6), who will host Dillon on Friday in the semifinals.
But it was the play of Kelly and Willis off the bench that gave Lumberton some life on both ends of the floor throughout the night. Each player accounted for six points each, with Willis knocking down a pair of 3-pointers in the second half.
“When I give you your shot, you can make it where I can’t take you out of the game,” said Lumberton coach Matt Hill. “Brion and Caleb, they were just so ferocious out there. They were all over the place, in your face, playing defense the way it’s supposed to be played.
“And also, offensively, very unselfish in getting open guys the ball. I’m glad to see that from my bench because I was able to go to them and I think we actually got better when I did that.”
Lumberton led by as many as 17 points in the second half. South Robeson (3-5) cut the lead to eight points midway through the fourth quarter but Kelly made back-to-back baskets to stretch the margin back out to double digits.
“It was the battle that I thought it would be,” Hill said. “It’s a well-coached team, probably the best coached South Rob team I’ve seen in a couple of years. Big boy (Cam Werrell) in the middle is a stud. … he’s everything he’s cracked up to be.
“But they also have some speedy guards who will take advantage of you if you don’t pay attention on defense. That was our Achilles Heel for most of the night.”
Jarias Davis led the Mustangs with 19 points and Werrell scored 18 points for the visitors, who will host St. Pauls in the consolation round tonight.
South Robeson was plagued by a slew of miscues throughout the game, including multiple missed layups.
“It seemed like we started out OK, but we missed a lot of easy shots. We lacked toughness tonight,” said South Robeson coach Ryan Bullard.
“We really didn’t execute the offense well. We kind of got away from what we’ve been doing and that’s what I told them in the locker room. When you get away from what you’ve been doing, everything is out of whack. That’s what we were tonight, kind of out of whack.”
Lloyd scored 16 points in the first half, knocking down a pair of 3-pointers in the second quarter to help Lumberton take a 34-24 lead into the break.
Jordan McNeill scored 10 points for the Pirates, with Braylan Grice and Lacy Mitchell adding eight points each.
“I’ll take a win, but we have to play better than that on Friday,” Hill said.
For Bullard and the Mustangs, the rest of the tournament is “all about bragging rights.”
“I told my guys when you don’t win that first game, now you’re goal is to come out 2-1,” he said. “At this point it’s just about winning two games and not getting knocked out. Our guys are still showing a lot of improvement. We just didn’t have it tonight.”
Lady Pirates earn 63-point win over South Robeson
The Lumberton girls basketball team cruised in its opening round game against South Robeson, earning a 72-9 victory over the Lady Mustangs.
Zy Cade scored a game-best 15 points to pace the Lady Pirates (9-2), who used a 32-point blitz in the second quarter to take a commanding lead. Cade also had six steals and four assists.
London Thompson had 11 points, 10 assists, eight steals and seven rebounds. Madison Canady added 13 points and nine rebounds for Lumberton.
Tellia Page scored four points to lead the Lady Mustangs (1-7), who didn’t score in the second half.
Lumberton will host Dillon on Friday in the semifinals.