Despite the cold temperatures, it was smoking hot in the Lakewood gym Friday when the Leopards hosted down-the road rivals Midway. The Lakewood ladies took care of business, while the boys teams split the victories.
The JV Lady Leopards took charge from the beginning and were ahead at halftime 35-10. By the third quarter, both teams had stalled in the shooting department, with Lakewood shooting only 8 to Midway’s 5 points, bringing the score to 43-15.
The Leopards came out strong in the fourth quarter, scoring a quick five points, but then both teams hit about a three minute dry spell.
Finally, with 1:15 left in the game, the Leopards scored a basket on the front end of a one-and-one and then got 2 points from the rebound. This made the score 51-15 until the Raiders raced down court and Savanna Spell scored from underneath the basket.
As the clock counted down to end the game, Midway’s Halie Sessoms managed to make a goal from underneath the basket to bring the final score 51-19.
Midway’s head coach, Alan McLamb, was disappointed, but optimistic. “We set up for press. We set up for man to man. We just didn’t execute. We just didn’t come to play ball,” he acknowledge after the game.
“We’ve played some really good teams and played a lot better than we played tonight. We’ve got to get in the gym and fix it,” he added.
Lakewood’s head coach, Lofton Kerr was pleased with the way his team played. “It was a good win. Everybody got to play. Our last home game was against Clinton and it was a loss, so I’m glad to play at home and get this win,” he said proudly.
Leading all scorers was Leopard Chanel McLellan with 12 points. Lakewood’s Alexis Williams was right behind with 11 points; Justina Henry, Jada Moore, and Aja Stevens each scored 7 points; and Briana Evans scored 6 points.
Top scorers for the Raiders were Savanna Spell with 8 points and Taylor Faircloth with 3 points.
The boys junior varsity game had the fans on the edge of their seats most of the time, especially the final two minutes.
Both teams started off intense and hungry for the basket, but the Leopards managed to keep the lead and held a 13-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
With fast breaks and a strong inside game, the Leopards led going into intermission 25-15.
After the half, Lakewood was able to close up the Raiders’ inside game and led by as much as 19 points at one point, but the tenacious Raiders cut it to 40-29 by the end of the third period.
Mid-fourth quarter Leopard Deshaun Wilson fouled out of the game and that sent the Midway fans to their feet and seemed to give the Raider team new life. The first four minutes of the fourth quarter, the Raiders went on an 11 to 7 scoring spree, but with Lakewood still leading 47-40.
With back and forth turnovers at each end of the court, both defenses kept the scoring to a minimum. The clock had wound down to 1:04 and the score was 49-44 when Midway started fouling. The Leopards missed two one and ones and Midway missed a free throw. Then with 29 seconds left, Leopard Maurice Boone hit one of his one and ones, but on the next Raider possession, Shyheim Small was fouled as he put in a lay-up and made it a 3-point game, 50-47, when he hit his free throw.
With just eight seconds showing on the scoreboard, Leopard Michael Graham was fouled on Lakewood’s next possession. He iced both his free throws to move the game out of the Raiders’ reach. Leopard D.J. Rich put in a final free throw to make the final score 53-47.
An elated Lakewood head coach Sylvester Pittman said, “It was a great ballgame. We jumped out early and then had to survive at the end. My boys played smart at the end to get this win and I’m proud of them.”
“Hats off to Midway for never giving up and playing a good game,” he added.
Leading all scorers was Leopard Michael Graham with 18 points. Lakewood’s Maurice Boone was clsoe behind with 12 points; Willie Henry, 7; Deshaun Wilson, 6; D.J. Rich, 5; Kobe Jackson, 3; and Nasiem Devane 2 points.
For the Raiders, Paris Smith scored 14 points; Shyheim Small and Cameron Hobbs each scored 11 points; Lary Blanks and Ayden Cannady each scored 4; and Tyler Mayes had 3.
Midway’s head coach, Matthew Creech, said hee was proud of his team’s near-come-back win. “We were down by 19 at one point and fought back to almost win this thing. I’m very proud of this team. We need to improve on our free throws and lay-ups, but overall we played a good game,” he said.
“My hats off to the Lakewood team and Coach Pittman. He had his team ready with a really good game plan,” Creech added.
Once again, the Raiders showed that never-give-up spirit and fought hard despite a tough Lady Leopard team that is still undefeated this season.
By the end of the first quarter, Lakewood was leading 20-12 and by halftime the score was 39-29. Midway managed to stay in the game with long shots from the corners and determined rebounding.
Both teams kept the rim hot in the third quarter with Lakewood scoring 16 and Midway 12 points for a total of 55-41. The fourth quarter was all Lakewood, though, scoring 21 to Midway’s 5 points for a final score of 76-46.
Leading all scorers was Tiesha Rich with 22 points. Leopard Brittney Boykin scored 18; Briana Moore, 11; and Tasha Rich scored 10; Rashyda Parker 5; Jache’ Servance 4 points; and Shawuandra Lilly, 2 points.
For the Raiders, Tess Williams and Morgan Tew each scored 10 points; Jada Cannady scored 9 points; Jennifer Blackburn, 6 points; Kaitlyn Jackson, 4; Ivey Parker, 3; Hannah Hubbard and Elizabeth McCullen 2 points each.
Lakewood’s head coach Lofton Kerr was pleased with the win, but praised Midway’s head coach, too. “It was a good win. Coach (Jennifer) Honeycutt has Midway playing hard, but I think our pressure wore them down and we were able to take control of the game. Midway’s a well-coached team with good discipline,” he stated.
Despite the loss, Coach Honeycutt was pleased with the way her girls played. “I think we showed exceptional effort in the first half and we played well in the second. We lost some focus, but overall I’m proud of the girls,” she said.
“Lakewood is an excellent team and we were playing them. That’s all I can ask for,” she added.
The Lady Raiders are 1-2 in the conference.
Midway came off the bench ready to play, forcing the Leopards to play catch-up the entire 32 minutes. The Leopards came close and by the end of the first quarter Lakewood had pulled to within 1 point for a score of 9-10.
The Raiders were fast and created turnovers, managing to pull ahead by 9 points midway the second quarter.
Then 1 minute before intermission a routine rough and tumble high school basketball game was suddenly side-tracked by a quick whistle and two technical fouls. Referee J.J. White didn’t like the look a Lakewood player gave him after he called a foul against the team. White then called a second T on another Leopard because he didn’t like the way that player looked after the first technical was called.
The game came to a halt as Raider Tyler Pope coolly sank five of the six shots from the charity stripe to make the score 32-16.
Before the game could be restarted, the referees had to confer for several minutes because they couldn’t remember which Leopard the original foul was called on.
The Leopards played with a serious intensity when they came back onto the floor after the half and managed to score 18 points to the Raiders’ 10 to end the third quarter with a score of 37-44 with Midway still in the lead.
With four minutes left in the game, the Leopards had pulled to within 3 points, and then within 1 point on a 3 pointer by Nikin Henry for a score of 52-53.
The Raiders always had an answer and never allowed Lakewood to take the lead.
Midway won 59-65. This brings their record to 7-4 and 2-0. Lakewood moves to 1-2 in the conference and 5-6 overall.
“It was a team effort. We finally finished a game, but we still need to work on making our free throws and lay-ups. My hat’s off to Lakewood for coming back there at the end,” Midway head coach Leonard Henry said after the game.
Lakewood’s head coach, Sylvester Pittman, was proud of his team despite the loss. “We fought back, but I think we gave out of gas there at the end. My hat is off to Midway. They came prepared to play,” he said.
Individual player stats were not available after the game.
Lakewood’s JV boys, varsity girls and boys travel to James Kenan next Tuesday. Game time is 4:30 p.m.
Midway’s JV girls and boys, and varsity girls and boys all travel to Pender next Tuesday. Game time is 4 p.m.