The first round of the Tri-County Tournament started Tuesday night with Lakewood hosting two of the four girls’ games. No. 1 seed Lakewood moved past No. 8 Union, and fift-ranked Wallace-Rose Hill upset fourth-ranked Hobbton.
The Lady Leopards have not lost a conference game in two seasons and continued that winning streak into the first round of the tournament.
Second round results from Wednesday’s game were not available at press time. See Friday’s paper for the update and visit www.clintonnc.com for the latest game results.
Tuesday, Lakewood’s girls dominated the Spartans with turnovers and fast breaks. Three minutes into the first quarter Lakewood was leading by 8 and by halftime, the score had moved to 18-7.
With the clock running straight through the third and fourth quarters, the pace of the game picked up.
Union only found the net once during the entire third quarter, while Lakewood managed to put 19 on the board.
It got a little better for the Lady Spartans, who managed to score 8 to Lakewood’s 5 points in the fourth quarter. The final score was 49-23.
Union head coach John English was not surprised at the outcome. “Lakewood is a good team. They should go a long way in this tournament and in the playoffs. Our girls never gave up. They are young. Most of my starters are freshmen and sophomores. They continued to fight the entire game and that’s all I can ask,” he said after the game.
Lakewood head coach, Lofton Kerr said he’s concerned his girls are not focused enough. “The real challenge starts this week, and we need to jump in there and be ready. I’m pleased to move on to the next level in the Tri-County Tournament, but our bench has got to play better,” he stated.
“We’ve got to be ready to play Wallace and it looks like we’re in a head-on collision with JK again,” he added with a laugh.
Lakewood squeaked by James Kenan twice this season: By 5 points in overtime at James Kenan, and then by a controversial 2 point buzzer-beater at Lakewood.
Top scorer in the game with Union Tuesday was Lakewood senior Tasha Rich with 19 points. Kiara Rich was next highest with 9 points; and Bianca Moore was one behind with 8 points.
Top scorer for Union was Eva Long with 8 points.
Lady ‘Dogs upset
Hobbton started the game strong, but seemed to lose focus after the half and then totally imploded once Wallace took the lead with 1:25 left in the game.
The Lady Wildcats jumped to a 13-7 lead in the first quarter and piled the points on to end the half leading 22-14.
Slowly, but surely, the Bulldogs put points on the board and never let the Wildcats get very far ahead. After five minutes of play in the third quarter, Wallace-Rose Hill had scored 8 to Hobbton’s 4 points, to bring the score to 26-22.
The ‘Dogs tied the score with less than 2 minutes to go in the game, 30-all. Hobbton’s shooting, which never got hot, went ice cold, especially from the charity stripe, and Wallace managed to take advantage.
With one minute left to play, they slipped by the Wildcats by 4 points. Then the drama began.
With just nine seconds left in the game, a technical foul was called against Hobbton’s coach, Alfonzo Hooper. As Wallace’s player was sinking those two baskets, a Wildcat player made several remarks to the referee, who then called two technicals against that player and ejected her from the game.
As the coaches and referees discussed the fouls, the player reportedly made some additional remarks and Lakewood’s principal stepped in and walked her to the locker room.
The final score was 30-38.
The last meeting between these two teams was last week when Wallace-Rose Hill won by 1 point in overtime to push Hobbton back to fourth place and give Trask the third seed in this tournament.
After speaking with his team, Coach Hooper came out of the locker room with disappointment and frustration showing in his voice. “Wallace came to play. We played a good first half, but just didn’t show up for the second. We were up by eight and Wallace stuck to their game plan. We had too many turnovers.”
“Sasha Martin and Michaela Wilson are our leading scorers and they just didn’t show up to play. When they don’t score, we don’t win. Wallace played a good game. Our girls wanted to complain about fouls, but you’ve got to play through that. This is gut-check time. We’ll get in the playoffs, but I’m not pleased with our overall effort tonight,”Hooper added, shaking his head sadly.
He said that the ejected player was allowed to apologize to the referee and her ejection was changed to a disqualification. This means that instead of sitting out their upcoming playoff game next week, she and Hooper both have to attend a four-hour class this week.
Martin and Wilson both usually score around 15 points per game each. Against Wallace, they only scored 3 points each.
Picking up the slack was Casey Hobbs, who put in 10 points, had 9 rebounds, and 4 blocked shots. Lexus Rogers scored 6 points, had 18 rebounds, and 3 blocked shots. Shavion Bell scored 4 points; and Taylor Parker and Hannah Warren each scored 2 points.
For Wallace-Rose Hill, the leading scorer was Justice C. with 16 points; Karmin S., 9; and Monieka B., 6 points.