ST. PAULS — There were multiple points Tuesday that the Lumberton basketball team seemed to have St. Pauls on the ropes, but even as the Pirates doubled up the score, the Bulldogs continually bounced back.
It wasn’t until the second half that Lumberton finally got the knockout blow it needed, going on an 11-2 run in the first four minutes to get a final buffer in a 74-56 road win.
“We talked about at halftime that we really needed to turn it up,” said Lumberton coach Mackie Register. “Our man-t0-man defense wasn’t very good in the first half. The guys were getting behind us, they were back-cutting us, got some easy layups and stuff and we talked about at halftime that we needed to turn it up on defense.”
The Pirates (2-2) led 40-33 at the half, but scored nine points in the first three minutes, utilizing a three-point play by Travis Suggs, who was fouled on a layup, along with post play from Demetri Sheridan and Keanu Brock, to go up 49-33.
St. Pauls (0-1) didn’t have a point in the half until more than three minutes in as Lumberton got points from nearly everybody who touched the ball, getting the lead as high as 21 points in the fourth quarter.
“I think we got a little complacent at halftime because we were down 15, came back and were only down seven,” said St. Pauls coach Travis Lemanski. “I think the guys took it easy when they came back out and within the first two minutes of the third quarter it was over, I told them. They let that lead double from seven to 14 just like that.”
Earlier, St. Pauls had played pesky, letting Lumberton jump out to a large lead only to come back. After trailing 23-15 at the end of the first half, St. Pauls allowed three scores in a minute and a half to go down 29-15.
It was then, behind Deonte Bridges, Darian Brooks and Zeke Sansbury, that St. Pauls made a run, narrowing Lumberton’s lead to 35-33 with 1:17 left in the half.
Sheridan led Lumberton with 18 points and Justice Sampson had 16.
Jerkez McCollum had 12 points and one of three Bulldogs to score in double figure. Malik Livingston and Deonte Bridges each had 10 points.
Lemanski credited Lumberton for beating his team, but noted that the team was dealing with traditional first-game bugs, along with a few nagging injuries from football season that he expects to heal before the team meet again Tuesday.
“It’ll be interesting to see if we’re at full strength. Hopefully we can give them a better game,” he said.
Lumberton D stops Bulldogs
The Lumberton girls didn’t always get consistent offense, but the defensive effort was more than enough.
The Pirates never allowed more than seven points in a quarter in a 51-21 win against St. Pauls.
“That’s the key for us every night: We’ve got to play defense and we’ve got to rebound,” said Lumberton coach Danny Graham.
In the Pirates’ case, they did both, utilizing their size to dominate the boards and keep the Bulldog offense from getting in a rhythm.
“It was a typical opening game. A whole lot of mistakes and lapses in concentration,” said St. Pauls coach Mike White. “I think we gave a good effort but the lapses in concentration hurt us a lot.”
The game faced two short delays as rain from a passing storm leaked through the ceiling and onto the floor. School officials used towels to dry the floor and placed a trashcan on the floor to collect water the rest of the game.
Mariah Locklear led Lumberton with 12 points and Maya McKoy had eight. Kristen Locklear led St. Pauls with nine.
Fairmont splits with West Bladen
FAIRMONT — The Fairmont basketball teams had mixed success against West Bladen, with the boys winning 60-40 and the girls falling 36-32.
In the boys game, the Golden Tornadoes outscored the Knights 15-7 in the first quarter. Despite a second-quarter run that narrowed the lead to two points, Fairmont never fell behind, leading by at least 10 at the end of each of the remaining quarters. A 13-4 run out of halftime sealed it.
The girls team opened its game with a 13-3 run, trading leads to take a 17-16 lead at halftime. The Golden Tornadoes continued to lead at the end of the third, but were outscored 9-5 in the fourth quarter, missing four free throws down the stretch.
Curt Vincent contributed to this report.
Lumberton 74, St. Pauls 56
Lumberton 23 17 23 11 — 74
St. Pauls 15 18 11 12 — 56
LUMBERTON — Demetri Sheridan 18, Justice Sampson 16, Suggs 9, Gaddy 8, Cromartie 6, Brock 5, Grissett 4, Edwards 4, Johnson 2, Love 2.
ST. PAULS — Jerkez McCollum 12, Malik Livingston 10, Deonte Bridges 10, Jacobs 8, Brooks 8, Graham 2, Sansbury 2, Patterson 2, Conrad 2.
3-Point Goals — LHS: Sampson 4, Cromartie 2, Gaddy 2. STP: McCollum 2, Jacobs 2
Records — Lumberton 2-2; St. Pauls 0-1
Lumberton 51, St. Pauls 21
Lumberton 16 8 16 11 — 51
St. Pauls 5 7 6 3 — 21
LUMBERTON — Mariah Locklear 12, McKoy 8, Graham 7, Bullard 7, Andrews 6, Leach 4, Barnes 4, Faulkner 2, Singletary 1
ST. PAULS — Locklear 9, Lewis 4, Glover 3, Roberson 3, Mitchell 2, Lesane 1.
3-Point Goals — LHS: Locklear, Graham. STP: Roberson, Glover.
Records — Lumberton 2-2; St. Pauls 0-1.