PEMBROKE — For the first time this season, it was home sweet home for the Purnell Swett basketball teams, and the doubleheader against Scotland on Tuesday had a sweet ending for the girls squad.
With its 50-35 win over Scotland, the Lady Rams snapped a 42-game losing streak in conference play behind the play of a pair of seniors on senior night in their return to the school’s gym.
“I’m so thankful that we pulled that out tonight,” Purnell Swett coach Danyel Jolicoeur said. “I had like a seven-man rotation. I wanted to make sure my seniors played a majority of the game and they came out and fought and won it.”
After being forced to play at Pembroke Middle and The University of North Carolina at Pembroke for the entire season and practice at area church gyms, Wednesday was the first time since August any team was allowed to walk inside the Purnell Swett gym that was under construction on the roof.
Senior guards Chelsea Jones had a team-high 21 points and Nakyra Mitchell added 14 points in the victory for Purnell Swett (5-15, 1-12 SAC), a first for the pair, or any Purnell Swett player, in conference play for their careers that are coming to an end.
“Chelsea and Nakyra definitely carried the offense. Rebekah (Chavis) was hurt, but she still played hard, and Taylor (Graham) doesn’t get a lot of minutes, but she plays hard,” Jolicoeur said. “Having Nakyra and our other seniors for the majority of the game was an awesome feeling.”
The Lady Rams trailed 8-7 after the first quarter, then outscored Scotland (2-17, 1-12 SAC) 29-17 in the second and third quarter to carry an 11-point lead into the final period. Jones added seven points, including a 3-pointer, in the final frame to hold on for the win.
Purnell Swett travels to Lumberton tomorrow.
Scotland boys too much for Rams
After falling behind early, Purnell Swett boys coach Jeremy Sampson knew that his team faced an uphill battle on an off shooting night at home.
After failing to score in the first five minutes of the game, the Rams were playing catch-up the rest of the night to the Scots in a 62-44 conference loss.
“It seemed like there was a lid on our end. We got down early and gave them an early 11-0 cushion and for the rest of the half it was even,” Sampson said. “We couldn’t seem to dig back. We couldn’t get anything to drop, but we’ve got to get better defensively.
“I was glad to be back here and I hate for the seniors to lose their one time here.”
Purnell Swett (6-14, 2-11 SAC) fell behind 14-2 to Scotland (14-7, 8-5 SAC) in the first quarter and were unable to draw closer than six points in the loss.
Kalan Locklear had 11 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks for the Rams, Kevin Hardin had nine points and Darriante Parker and Kyler Page each added eight points.
Scotland’s Janoah McRae had 16 points on five treys.
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977 or by email at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.