It was senior night as the Leopards hosted the Patriots and came away with three out of four wins.
The varsity girls game was a blowout, with Lakewood walking away with a 66-20 win over Pender.
Leopard head coach Lofton Kerr said his team played all out despite the wide scoring difference to prepare them for the playoffs. The Lady Leopards have not lost a game this season and only lost two games last year.
“It was a good win and everyone got to play. I’ve got a good group of seniors and I hate to see them go,” Kerr said after the game. The seniors are Tasha and Teisha Rich, Brittney Boykin, Bianca Moore, Jache’ Servance, Swazay Marable, and Jakyra Braxton.
“We played hard to get prepared for the playoffs, because they are going to have to play like that if we move on up,” he added.
Leading all scorers were Teisha Rich with 17 and Brittney Boykin with 16 points. Bianca Moore added 9 to the scoreboard; Tasha Rich, 5; Jache’ Servance, 4; Kiara Rich, Daja Owens, and Shaquandra Lilly all had 2 points; and Swazay Marable scored 1 point.
Score by quarters: 21-4; 44-9; 54-14; 66-20.
The varsity boys played their heart out for the seniors, but just couldn’t get past the quickness of Pender, and lost 55-65. It didn’t help that starter and leading scorer Ryan Emfinger tore ligaments in his ankle in Friday night’s win against Hobbton and couldn’t suit up.
A low scoring first quarter heated up with about 2 minutes left in the quarter. Nick Butler sank two 3-pointers in a row that tied the score at 10-all. Then Pender scored on a fast break, got the ball back and hit a 3-point buzzer beater to get the fans on their feet.
The Leopards started the second quarter down by five with a score of 10-15 and starter Kevin Murphy with 4 fouls.
The Patriots came out on fire and their full court press wouldn’t let Lakewood get the ball past half court. After five minutes of play, Pender had doubled their score and Lakewood had only managed to sink one basket, 12-30.
A brief time-out helped get the Leopards back on track and they managed to get 10 more points on the board to the Patriots two baskets for a halftime score of 22-34. Three of Lakewood’s 10 points came a second before the buzzer sounded when Nikin Henry launched a shot from beyond half court and stripped the net.
Lakewood never gave up and even got to within 7 points late in the fourth quarter, but could never quite overcome the fast hands of the Patriots.
One Patriot player was ejected from the game after the referees determined he was purposely swinging his elbows in an effort to keep defenders from getting too close when he had the ball.
The final score was 55-65.
Head coach Sylvester Pittman thought his team played well despite the loss. “It was a tough loss for our seniors. They did a good job and played really well in spurts. The turnovers really hurt us, plus we missed having Ryan in the line-up,” he stated.
Top scorer for Lakewood was Nick Butler with 14 points, followed by Kevin Murphy and Mike Smith, each with 10 points. Deontre Newkirk scored 9; Nikin Henry, 5; Jabriel Cooper and Pat Rich, 2 points each; and Jayden Herring, 3 points.
Top scorers for the Patriots were Ramell Hansley with 16 points; and Tyrice Murphy and Quate McKenzie, each with 13 points.
Lakewood seniors recognized were Kevin Murphy, Nikin Henry, Triston Baucom, Nick Butler, Jayden Herring, Parsell Murphy, Dominck Williamson, and Ryan Emfinger.
This was the last game of the year for Lakewood’s junior varsity girls and they ended the season at the top of the Tri-County list with no losses in the conference. Their score versus Pender was 52-29 win.
The Patriots put up a good fight to start the game and had the score tied 23-all at half-time
It didn’t stay that way long once the Leopards came out in a full court press. Within three minutes Lakewood was up 11 points, 34-23.
By the start of the fourth quarter, Pender’s offense had been completely shut down with the Patriots gaining one basket to the Leopards’ 14 points.
Leading all scorers by only one point was Aja Stevens with 15 points. Alexis Williams put 14 on the board. Brianna Evans and Jada Moore, each scored 8; Chanel McClellen, 6; Courtney Emfinger, 2; and Justine Henry, 1 point.
The Leopards final record was 8-0 and 10-1 overall.
Girls head coach Lofton Kerr had an outstanding season so far, with neither team losing a single game in the conference.
In talking about his JV team, Coach Kerr said, “I’ve been pleased with the way my freshmen have played this year. I’m sorry to say Aja Stevens will be moving to Charlotte next year and we will certainly miss her. Alexis Williams played one of her better games tonight. Plus it’s always good to win the last game of the season,” he said with a smile.
The JV boys game was a hard fought defensive race up and down the court, with the Leopard boys coming out ahead, 55-49.
Both teams came out determined to keep the other from scoring and after four minutes of play the score was 4-all. By the end of the first quarter, the Leopard JV was down three points, 7-10.
A quick break and hot hands by Lakewood changed the ballgame and the Leopards had doubled the Patriots score, 24-12, with just three minutes off the clock.
Pender changed their strategy, applying a full court press for the next four minutes and shut down Lakewood’s shooting. Meanwhile, the Patriots scored 10 and came back to within 2 points by intermission, 24-22.
The Leopards came back after the half focused on getting back into the game. They quickly tied the score and it was back and forth for the next seven minutes.
By the start of the fourth quarter Lakewood was down by 1 point, 38-39.
Keeping the focus, the Leopards continued on their scoring streak and pulled ahead by 11 points at one point.
The Leopards had a balanced scoring attack, with Maurice Boone leading all scorers with 13 points; Willie Herring and Mike Graham both scored 11 points each; D.J. Rich and Nyquan Murphy scored 6; and Ethan Blackwell and Nacine Devone each scored 4 point.
This win moved the Leopards into 3rd place in the conference with a 7-6 record and one more game to play.
“Overall, it was a great effort from my team and a really good win. Now we’ve got to get ready to go to Union on Friday,” head coach Sylvester Pittman said.
The Leopards head to Spartan Country on Friday to help them celebrate their senior night.