The Lakewood Leopard girls and the Wallace-Rose Hill Lady Bulldogs squared off in the second round of the conference championships Wednesday night. The Leopards handled the Bulldog girls without problems, taking a 62-33 win and moving into Friday night’s championship game.
In the nightcap, the Hobbton Wildcat boys tangled with the varsity Bulldogs and lost a close one 63-60.
Lakewood led the whole game, however, the first and second quarters were close. The Leopards had a 12-8 lead after one and a 22-17 lead at the half.
In the second half, the Leopards speed took its toll on the Duplin team They were getting turnover sand steals, which with their fast breaks, led to points, allowing them to open up the score in the third period. After that frame, Lakewood had a 20-point lead, at 44-24.
In the final quarter, the Lady Leps led by 32 at one point before the younger girls got some playing time. Wallace came back a couple of times but the Leopards kept their game and held on to the wide margin.
Lakewood coach Loftin Kerr said, “I didn’t like how we came out. I think we came out flat and we can’t do that Friday night. We’ve got to be ready. But, once they settled down, they tried to play angry. You can’t play basketball angry. I told them to settle down and relax and don’t play like the team you’re playing. You’ve got to play with control. Once they did that, they got into the game. However, I wasn’t pleased with it – not pleased at all.”
Tiesha Rich led the Lakewood scoring effort with 16 points. Tasha Rich had 11 and Bianca Moore had 8.
In the boys game, the Wildcats held the lead for the first half. They were up 4 after the first quarter and 5 at the break. However, Wallace came out after the half and took control, outscoring Hobbton 26-18 in the third quarter. In the final quarter the lead changed on each end of the court as there was a 1-point difference in the score.
Wildcat coach Jeff Byrd said, “We tried to keep it close. We had the lead with 17 seconds and just couldn’t get back on offense. When they got that 3-point play, I told them we had to get back on offense and try to do something but we just couldn’t get it done. I have to hand it to them, they played hard.”
Wallace had a balanced scoring attack with five players leading the charge. M. Newkirk had 12, J. Robinson had 8, G. Wiggins and B.K. McAlister had 7 each and D. Kenan added 6.
For the Wildcats, Jonathan Faison had 18, Rashad Davis had 16, Charles Chestnutt had 9 and Arell Owens added 6.