LUMBERTON — As the Lumberton basketball team prepared for its final possession in Friday’s 64-63 win against Fairmont, Demetri Sheridan made his way to his normal spot in the post, just to the left of the hoop.
With the Pirates nursing a one-point lead with 24 seconds to play, Sheridan saw his chance.
“I just tried to make a big play, put my team in the right position to win the game,” Sheridan said.
Sheridan caught the ball on the block, went up for a layup and was fouled. The ball went through the net and the Pirates’ senior captain added a free throw for a four-point cushion.
It was enough, just barely, Lumberton beat their cross-county rivals for the first time since 2010, avoiding a late push by the Golden Tornadoes.
“Coach Baker does a great job over at Fairmont. It’s a great program,” said Lumberton coach Mackie Register. “You can talk 2A, 4A all you want, that’s a good basketball program no matter what A it is.”
The Golden Tornadoes, playing their first game since a 2A East Regional Championship loss to eventual state champion Kinston last season, led by as many as 15 points in the first half and nearly got the last-second heroics they needed.
With 3.8 seconds left and Lumberton ahead 64-60, the Golden Tornadoes worked the ball to Shemar Barfield in the far right corner. He drained the 3.
On Lumberton’s ensuing inbounds, the Golden Tornadoes stole it away, passed it to Barfield behind the arc, his shot clanging off the rim as time expired.
Fairmont was playing its first game without reigning Robeson County Player of the Year Kwinton Hinson who transferred to Quality Education Academy in the offseason. While the Golden Tornadoes missed his presence inside, they got enough scoring from Barfield and Neal to offset the star forward’s offensive prowess.
The game included the normal theatrics that come when the two schools play. Student sections chanted at each other, waving oversized heads. The game even faced a halftime power outage due that delayed the second half by 10 minutes.
Fairmont’s early pressure caused Lumberton headaches, but the Pirates stayed the course.
Lumberton ended the first half on an 8-0 run, getting two 3-pointers from Y’shawn Gaddy in the final minute to narrow the lead to 33-26.
Gaddy scored the first points of the second half to start a 6-0 run that narrowed Fairmont’s lead to 33-32.
“They got some good looks,” Fairmont coach Michael Baker said. “They hit some tough shots.”
Baker said he saw his team get a bit fatigued late, which he said was in part to having only a week of practice. The school’s football season ended only a week earlier.
“We ran out of gas,” he said. “We stopped putting pressure on them and we got into their style of play.
Sheridan led Lumberton with 17 points and Justice Sampson had 13, including three of his team’s nine 3-pointers.
Barfield led Fairmont with 17.
Lumberton bounced back from a tough defeat in Wednesday’s opener at South View when a controversial call dashed Suggs’ go-ahead runner with 4.5 seconds to play.
Pirate girls win by 40
The Lumberton girls basketball team rode a strong defensive effort to rout a young Fairmont team 65-25.
The Pirates pressed the ball early, forcing turnovers and turning them into transition points.
“That’s the key for us,” said Lumberton coach Danny Graham. “Our defense has got to be key and set the table.”
The Pirates took a 23-8 lead in the first quarter and rode it the rest of the way. Fairmont never broke the 10-point mark in any quarter, scoring only three points in the second quarter, five in the third and nine in the fourth.
Mariah Locklear had 16 points to lead Lumberton in scoring. Jasmine McBride and Azaya Graham had 10 points each as every Pirate on the roster scored.
NaJewel Ingram as the only Golden Tornado to break double figures, scoring 13.
“I thought they played really hard,” said Fairmont coach Cindy Thorndyke. “We made some fundamental mistakes, like we were so jittery to get the ball that we didn’t grab it completely or tried to bounce when we should have picked the ball up. Little things like that that we’ve got to work on. We like playing people who are good in the non-conference to get us ready for the conference.”
Lumberton 65, Lumberton 25
Fairmont 8 3 5 9 — 25
Lumberton 23 17 18 7 — 65
FAIRMONT — NaJewel Ingram 13, Lesane 6, Clewis 3, Mitchell 3,
LUMBERTON — Mariah Locklear 16, Jasmine McBride 10, Azaya Graham 10, Andrew 9, McKoy 7, Barnes 4, Singletary 3, Leach 2, Faulkner 2, Grant 2, Bullard 2,
3-Point Goals — LHS: Locklear 3.
Records — Fairmont 0-1, Lumberton 1-1
Lumberton 64, Fairmont 63
Fairmont 20 13 10 20 — 63
Lumberton 11 15 18 20 — 64
FAIRMONT — Shemar Barfield 17, Jarrod Neal 11, Malik Milton 10, McQueen 6, Field 5, Hines 4, Green 4, Watson 2, Leonard 2, Williams 2.
LUMBERTON — Demetri Sheridan 15, Justice Sampson 13, Jamal Cromartie 11, Gaddy 8, Johson 6, Grissett 6, Suggs 5
3-Point Goals — FMT: Milton 3, Field, Barfield, McQueen. LHS: Sampson 3, Gaddy 2, Johnson 2, Cromartie 2.
Technicals — Fairmont bench.
Records — Fairmont 0-1; Lumberton 1-1