LUMBERTON — A raucous, standing-room-only gym. A late rally filled with unconscious outside shooting. Overtime.
The Lumberton and Fairmont boys basketball showdown had Robeson County hoops fans abuzz Friday night at Lumberton High.
In the end, Fairmont, despite squandering a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter and finishing the game without three of its starters, came out on top with an 84-80 non-conference victory. Fairmont’s top three scorers on the night — Shemar Barfield (24 points), Kwinton Hinson (17) and Luke Hunt (11) — each fouled within the first two minutes of overtime.
“It’s a win. It was sloppy but you need games like this,” Fairmont head coach Michael Baker said. “You have to learn how to pull it out … We were in foul trouble big time — we said if you don’t move your feet you’re going to foul out.”
With over half of its points planted on the bench in the final minutes of overtime, Fairmont, coming off a 77-55 loss to Hoke County a night prior, found enough left in the tank to reach the W.
“You had guys who stepped up and produce. That’s why as a team you have to be able to step up,” Baker said.
Perhaps no one rose to the occasion more than Fairmont’s Kevin Frierson.
With the score stuck in an 80-80 deadlock with 30 seconds left in overtime, Frierson, who finished with nine points, muscled into rebounding positions and put back a missed shot to put Fairmont (2-2) up by two. In the final half-minute, Lumberton (0-3) had two possession come up empty, the last gasp coming with seven ticks left when Jez Deese’s inbound pass was stolen at midcourt by Fairmont’s Shyheim Hines, who attempted a layup in the waning seconds that was followed by Dwayne Green on a Lumberton goal tend to round out the 84-80 tally.
“We had to win in overtime. We had to fight adversity. We had to have guys step up,” Barfield said.
The Pirates trailed 71-63 — after a corner 3-pointer by Barfield that appeared to be the dagger — with 1:35 left in regulation before railing off a 10-2 run to send it to overtime.
“I told our guys we took a giant step tonight,” Lumberton head coach Mackie Register said. “We tried to shorten the game (in the fourth quarter). We hit some big shots that we hadn’t been hitting. Guys stepped up and hit some big shots — Colby Johnson hit a couple big ones and Montrae (Strother) got us in our offense.”
Johnson, who hit four 3-pointers on his way to 14 points, buried his biggest shot with 40 seconds left, sinking an NBA-range 3 to pull it to 71-68. Demetri Sheridan, who had 16 points, would eventually provide the game-tying bucket when he powered in a layup with 5.7 seconds left.
Barfield, slashing his way to the cup and peppering in a few jumpers, took the leading-scorer reigns from his sophomore teammate Hinson who struggled to find his shot despite netting a quiet 17 — he was 7-of-15 from the free throw line.
“They were checking me, I was determined to drive all game, pick my spots and see where I can score it,” Barfield said.
Lumberton’s Strother, a senior point guard, led all scorers with a game-high 27 points, highlighted by a momentum-swinging layup in the fourth off of a behind-the-back pass from Austin Revels that sent the LHS student section — the Maroon Typhoon — into a frenzy.
“Our fans were great tonight, it was a packed house, this is what high school basketball should be about,” Register said. “I loved the way we played, they played their hearts out, Fairmont played their hearts out. It was just a great high school basketball game.”
Added Baker: “This was a basketball environment. Both sides hollering back at each other … you got to get pumped up for games like this.”
Reach Sports Editor Kaleb Roedel at 910-272-6111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.