“We won’t know if we can beat them until we go try,” Ratley said about a second-round trip to unbeaten and top-seeded Lejuene after Monday’s 52-46 win over Heide Trask. “I’ve told the ladies it’s a new season and we’ve got to hang tough.”
Hanging tough is what South Robeson’s girls basketball team did best in their playoff opener, erasing a double-digit deficit in the third quarter to win on their home floor.
Virginyia McCormick led the way with 21 points as South Robeson outscored the opposition 37-21 after intermission. Aterria Quick, the Three Rivers Conference’s leading scorer at just under 25 points per game, netted 12.
Fairmont makes quick work of East Duplin
FAIRMONT — In the postseason, it’s difficult to grasp the ‘win and survive’ mentality.
Whether you’re a heavily-favored top finisher or a double-digit underdog, teams often get caught up in one possession, late-game struggles early in the playoffs.
Fairmont’s boys, for the past five seasons, have mastered getting past the first round.
The Three Rivers Conference regular season champions and No. 3 seed in the 2A Mideast bracket won their playoff opener Monday night, coasting past East Duplin, 69-34.
Fairmont’s win sets up a second round home game with Whiteville (20-7), a 63-57 winner over Eastern Randolph, on Wednesday night. The two teams have not met this season, but the Wolfpack are 8-2 against common opponents.
Lumberton girls first of many to fall
LUMBERTON — While Lumberton’s boys faced a back-and-forth contest with No. 3 seed Apex on the road, Danny Graham’s Lady Pirates, the Southeastern Conference’s second-best team, had a surprising tussle of their own with upset-minded Clayton.
Down 22 at one point, Lumberton (18-7) trimmed the deficit to four in the second half with feisty full-court pressure but couldn’t get any closer, falling to Clayton, 62-55.
A few minutes earlier, the Pirate boys (10-16) suffered a 61-58 setback away from home.
“There are four teams with 16 or more wins in their conference (Greater Neuse),” Graham said. “That was a very good basketball team we played tonight. You never know what you’re going to see in the playoffs. Our girls fought hard and I’m proud of them.”
In her final game, Lumberton captain Keanna McNeill poured in a game-high 29 points. The Lady Pirates tightened up defensively after intermission but couldn’t overcame a 14-point halftime deficit.
In Fairmont, late-game mishaps and failed execution led to a 50-48 first-round loss for the Lady Golden Tornadoes against West Bladen.
Both of Red Springs’ teams saw their seasons cut short on the road as the Red Devil boys fell at Southwest Onslow, 77-65, and the girls struggled offensively during a 48-25 loss to James Kenan.
Reach staff writer Brad Crawford at 910-272-6119 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at MrPalmettoSDS.