LUMBERTON — Hoke County had a pair of runs in the early stages of Friday’s Sandhills Athletic Conference opener at Lumberton.
Lumberton had a pair of bigger runs, propelling them to 12-point lead midway through the second quarter, after which the Pirates cruised to a 72-55 win over the Bucks.
Hoke (1-3, 0-1 SAC) took a 10-5 lead, then ended the first quarter with an 11-2 run; Lumberton (5-0, 1-0 SAC) answered each run with their own runs of 15-0 and 12-0. The first gave them a 20-10 lead; the second, after the Bucks closed within a point, put the Pirates up 36-23.
“The last two games we haven’t started well. We’ve got to get out the gate better early. I’ve got to find a unit that can start the game with a little higher pace,” Lumberton coach Bryant Edwards said. “But once we got our legs under us a little bit, we started to pull away a little bit.”
Three Lumberton players had double-doubles: Jordan McNeill, with 19 points and 11 rebounds, Jadarion Chatman with 14 points and 10 rebounds and Michael Todd with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
“Michael Todd went from playing four minutes the last game to tonight having a double-double,” Edwards said. “That just shows how deep we actually are. I legit have 10 guys that I can play that I trust, which is good about this team.”
McNeill was honored before the game for recently becoming Lumberton’s all-time scoring leader, and needed 21 points to hit the 1,500-point mark for his career, but he fell two points short of that mark as he and the other Pirates starters played less than two minutes in the fourth quarter due to the team’s comfortable lead. Nonetheless, McNeill was humbled by the recognition and glad he backed it up with a solid game on the court.
“That’s a blessing,” McNeill said. “Not too many people get that chance, it’s really a blessing.”
“The last few months of me being his coach, we’ve really tried to mold his leadership abilities into this. He passed the ball a lot more tonight, and he’s becoming a more multi-dimensional player, which is really good, and that’s what we really want him to do. And that’ll help him get to the next level too.”
Charlie Miller added 11 points for the Pirates.
Lumberton led 38-27 at halftime, then continued stretching their lead with a 26-16 third-quarter advantage to take a 64-43 lead, and led by 24 points before the Bucks scored the game’s last seven points.
One key for the Pirates was a collective unselfishness offensively, moving the ball well to find as many open shots as possible.
“We’ve got a lot of talent and we played really unselfish tonight, we just got out and did it,” McNeill said. “I saw the open man, dished it off; they saw the open man, dished it off; we just worked as a team tonight.”
Ervin Everette led the Bucks with 17 points and Ja’Vonne McAllister scored 13.
Lumberton hosts Marion in nonconference play Saturday; Hoke County hosts Douglas Byrd on Tuesday.
Lady Pirates win defensive battle
LUMBERTON — The Lumberton Lady Pirates never trailed after the opening two minutes of Friday’s game against Hoke County. But they could never take a deep breath until the final buzzer.
Hoke County kept it close with Lumberton throughout in a low-scoring, defensive matchup that the Pirates won 45-40.
Lumberton (5-0, 1-0 SAC) led 35-26 early in the fourth quarter, but Hoke County (1-3, 0-1 SAC) closed to within four points at 38-34 with 4:31 left. The Pirates twice stretched their lead back to seven points before the Bucks got to within 43-38 and had a 3-point shot attempt with just over a minute remaining that would have pulled them with two points.
That shot missed, and August Smith hit two free throws with 17 seconds left to eliminate any realistic chance the Bucks still had, before a late basket created the 5-point final margin.
Katelyn Culbreth and Zye’ahna Cade co-led Lumberton with 13 points each, with Culbreth earning a double-double with 14 rebounds. August Smith had nine rebounds to go along with four points. Akwarius Stubbs scored eight points.
Simone Benton led Hoke County with 16 points, Nazine Buddie had eight and Wyneshia Bratcher scored seven.
Lumberton got off to a hot start, up 16-4, and led 16-8 at the end of the first quarter. A 7-2 run started the second to take a 23-12 lead, but the Bucks used an 8-1 run over the final 3:01 of the half to close to a 24-20 halftime deficit.
The game’s status as a defensive slugfest was most clear in the third quarter, when the teams combined for 15 total points. Lumberton held a 9-6 edge in the period to take a 33-26 lead to the fourth quarter. The Bucks got as close as two points during the third at 24-22 and trailed by three at 29-26.
The game was each team’s conference opener, but each play a nonconference game next; Lumberton hosts Marion on Saturday and Hoke County hosts Douglas Byrd on Tuesday.
Fairmont splits with West Columbus; girls snap losing streak
FAIRMONT — For the first time in 31 games, the Fairmont girls basketball team came out with a win with a 63-17 win over West Columbus at home.
Georgianna Waters scored a game-high 20 points and had 10 steals and Vera McNeil had 14 points and 14 rebounds for Fairmont (1-2, 1-1 TRC).
In the boys game, Fairmont fell in a 10-point hole after the first quarter and lost 48-44 for its first conference loss of the season.
Fairmont (1-2, 1-1 TRC) was paced by Kobe Davis with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Jahkeem Moore and Thomas Simms each had eight points. Brandis Kelly scored 20 points for West Columbus.
Fairmont hosts Forest Hills on Saturday.
Red Springs boys runs past West Bladen
RED SPRINGS — The Red Springs boys basketball team used a big third quarter to claim a 70-43 win over West Bladen at home on Friday.
Correll Love and Jordan Ferguson each had 15 points for Red Springs (2-2, 2-0 TRC) in the win, while Keyante Graham had 13 points and Gary Locklear had 11.
Red Springs led 28-22 at halftime and out-scored the visitors 23-11 in the third period to stretch out the lead.
West Bladen was led by Tyre Boykin with 21 points.
In the girls game, Red Springs lost 44-11.
Red Springs hosts East Bladen on Tuesday.
Bulldogs make easy work of South View
ST. PAULS — A trio of Bulldogs in double figures helped the St. Pauls girls basketball team to a 57-19 win on Friday at home over South View.
Jakeiya Thompson scored 14 points, had eight assists and seven steals for the Bulldogs (3-0, 1-0 TRC), while T.J. Eichelberger had 13 points, five assists and five steals and Iyania Evans had 12 points and nine boards.
In the boys game, St. Pauls defeated South View 70-56.
St. Pauls hosts Fairmont on Tuesday.
St. Pauls wrestling opens conference play with wins
ST. PAULS — The St. Pauls wrestling team opened its conference duals with a pair of wins over Fairmont and Clinton on Friday at home.
The Bulldogs won 72-6 over Clinton and 48-30 against Fairmont. Fairmont claimed its first dual victory with a 58-6 score over Clinton to open the tri-meet.
Chris Stiles | The Robesonian Lumberton’s Zye’ahna Cade shoots against Hoke County during Friday’s game between the teams in Lumberton.
Chris Stiles | The Robesonian Lumberton’s Jordan McNeill is fouled by Hoke County’s Tristen Little during Friday’s game between the teams in Lumberton.