“I challenged our seniors,” Patterson Sr. said. “I told them, 'Is this how you want to be remembered? Is this how you want to go out on Senior Night?'”
Senior guard Sherwood Ferguson answered his coach’s call, pouring in all of his 16 points after Red Springs trailed at intermission as the Red Devils downed the Mustangs, 50-41.
Ferguson scored three straight baskets during a decisive 18-5 run to open the third quarter that put his team ahead to stay 28-22, alleviating the stress of ending the regular season home schedule in disappointment.
“I knew it was time to step my game up,” Ferguson said, after Red Springs trailed 17-10 at intermission. “We had a poor-shooting first half and I just wanted to do my best for my teammates.”
Red Springs’ (14-8, 8-1 Three Rivers) come-from-behind victory sets up Friday’s showdown at West Columbus, a contest that decides the conference champion.
“I had it figured out in my head that if we lost tonight, we could still win Friday and be champions,” Patterson Sr. said. “But that’s not how we wanted to do it. We wanted to go into the West Columbus game with the opportunity to decide our own destiny.”
Red Springs weathered the storm after a sloppy first quarter that included an array of badly missed shots and passes that sailed out-of-bounds. The Red Devils took their first lead of the contest at 10-9 with 3:22 left in the second quarter following Damontra Yates’ jumper in the lane.
South Robeson (8-12, 4-5) responded over the remainder of the opening half as two free throws from Tyray Belin and consecutive layups from Anthony Ratley supplied the Mustangs with a seven-point halftime lead.
That’s when the full-court press ended any hopes of South Robeson’s upset bid.
Ferguson and Glenn Patterson Jr. helped force seven turnovers on the Mustangs first eight possessions of the third quarter, a telling statistic in the outcome of the game according to Belin.
“They started pressuring us and we couldn’t handle it,” he said. “We worked on all of that in practice this week but it wasn’t the same. Keeping it close most of the game gives us a boost of confidence, but we have to work on our team chemistry. We made too many mistakes to win tonight.”
Patterson Sr. attributed to his team’s sluggish start to a Senior Night tradition: rotating five players into the lineup that do not normally begin the game.
“I kind of figured we would come out flat,” Patterson Sr. said. “The guys that started played a little lost. I had to change things up a bit, change the intensity level.”
Patterson Jr. scored 16 points for Red Springs while Belin and Leander Vanderhall led South Robeson with 14 and 11, respectively.