The Lady Leopards are moving into the third round of the state playoffs after knocking out Rosewood on Wednesday by 23 points. Lakewood will host East Columbus, a Lake Waccamaw team of the Three Rivers conference, on Friday at 6 p.m.
Lakewood started Wednesday’s game in a full court press that paid off with back-to-back steals, three offensive rebounds, and an extra point at the free throw line. By the end of the first quarter, the Leopards had doubled the Eagles’ score, 18-9.
They continued with the man-to-man defense and full court press, wearing Rosewood down. At halftime the Lady Leopard were still up, 31-16.
The Eagles came out of the locker room more aggressive, but the Lady Leopards still managed to stick to them like glue, forcing turnovers and making the Lady Eagles work for every shot.
One concern for Lakewood was an injury to senior starting forward Tasha Rich, who hurt her knee in the first minute of the second quarter. She had to be helped off the court and Dave Yarasheski, who is a Leopard sports trainer, tended to her. She sat on the bench with a bag of ice on her knee for the remainder of the game.
The intensity on the floor by the Lakewood girls was much stronger this night than on Monday, when they met South West Onslow in the first round. Lakewood head coach Lofton Kerr was pleased with what he saw.
“They played much more aggressively and a whole lot better tonight than Monday,” he stated as he cast a worried glance toward the injured Tasha Rich.
“Right now I’m worried about No. 15. She’s our leader and a warrior. The other girls stepped up and played really well and I’m glad to be moving to the next round.”
Stats for the Lady Leopards showed Tiesha Rich with a high score of 21 points and a total of 11 rebounds. Next in line was Brittney Boykin with 19 points and 6 steals; Bianca Moore, 17 points, with three shots from beyond the 3 point line; Jache’ Servance, 5 points; and Tasha Rich and Jakyra Braxton, both with 2 points.
As a team, the Leopards brought down 30 rebounds and had a total of 11 steals. The score by quarters: 18-9; 31-16; 51-28; 66-43.
Top scorers for the Eagles were Alicia Burns and Lexi Marcer, both with 12 points; followed by Logan Bill with 6 points.