The Lakewood Lady Leopards started off about as slowly as a team can start Tuesday night as they hosted North Duplin. In fact they did not score until the 2nd quarter. However, the Lady Leopards did win the game 41-39.
The opening period was slow for both teams. While Lakewood failed to score, the Lady Rebels scored just 2 points. Rylee Pate hit a basket to make it 2-0 after a quarter.
Both teams picked up the pace in the 2nd frame. The visitors held a 12-9 advantage at intermission.
In the 3rd frame, the home team scored 11, while holding North Duplin to 8. The score was knotted at 20 to begin the 4th quarter.
The lead changed hands several times in the closing moments. Lakewood led 23-20 and 28-26, but the Lady Rebels claimed a 31-29 lead with 4:21 left in the game. Lady Leopard Briana Evans tied it at 31 and moments later teammate Chanel McLellan knotted it at 33. With 1:20 remaining, Lakewood’s Jada Moore scored to make it 35-35. Neither team would score again in regulation.
In the extra period, Lakewood took a 3 point lead on a technical and 2 free throws and never trailed. North Duplin had a chance to tie in the closing seconds, but could not get a good shot off, and the Lady Leopards held on for the 41-39 win.
For Lakewood, Evans led the way with 14 points, while McLellan scored 11. Moore added 9. India Dixon contributed 4. Tamia Rich had 2 and Sha’Asia Hamilton scored 1.
Pate was top scorer for the Lady Rebels with 14.
“We couldn’t get in our groove of offense,” assessed Lakewood head coach Vonnie McNeil, referring to the slow start. “We were doing well on defense, we couldn’t get easy layups. We were missing everything. Then, we got it together. I commend North Duplin. They didn’t let up on us at all. But we had some leaders that came up and took the W for us.”
The Lady Leopards improve to 12-5 overall and 6-2 in the Carolina Conference. They will travel to Rosewood Friday night. North Duplin falls to 1-13 and 0-8.
Reach Danny McDowell at [email protected]