Leopards fend off Bulldogs

By: By Adam Johnson - Sports Writer

On Tuesday, the Lakewood Leopards took on the Princeton Bulldogs on Senior Night in a packed house. Leopards fans showed up to support their team for one final time at home before the season comes to a close and the Leopards did not disappoint, winning an exciting game by a score of 45-37.

The game started out great for Lakewood, as they were able to score on almost every possession to take full control of the game. The Leopards were simply too big for the Bulldogs, at least in the first three quarters, and did to Princeton what they wanted, although they only led 7-6 at the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, however, Lakewood found their footing and turned back to their sharpshooting ways to go up by nine at the break, with a 20-11 lead. At one point in the first half, the Leopards led 20-8.

The third quarter was not much different, as Lakewood continued to harass the Bulldogs on the inside and it started to look as if the Leopards would blow Princeton out, going up 29-18 at the end of the third quarter.

Fans from Princeton were upset at nearly every call from the refs and made their opinions known all game, especially when a technical foul was called on the Bulldogs, which really riled up the Princeton crowd.

Feeding off the intensity of their fans, Princeton started to mount a comeback, cutting the lead to four with just 21 seconds to go after multiple successful 3-pointers by the Bulldogs. Fortunately for Lakewood, the Leopards made their clutch free throws to seal the 45-37 win.

To put the icing on the cake, Lakewood’s Johnny Owens hit a buzzer-beating layup to push the final margin to eight, closing the game with an exclamation mark that had the crowd roaring.

Leopards head coach Sylvester Pittman praised his team for overcoming the adversity they faced Tuesday night.

“We jumped out to a lead and faced a little adversity, but we’re still strong,” Pittman noted.

The Leopards are now 11-8 overall with the win and 9-4 in conference play.

Princeton Bulldogs head coach Jeff Davis was frustrated with the amount of times Princeton turned the ball over.

“We had 25 turnovers, and gave up a bunch of offensive rebounds. We did nothing offensively,” Davis said.

With the loss, the Bulldogs fall to 10-13 overall and 4-9 in the conference.

Lakewood’s Johnny Owens drives the lane amidst several Bulldogs defenders on Tuesday nights.
https://www.clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/web1_Johnny-Owens.jpgLakewood’s Johnny Owens drives the lane amidst several Bulldogs defenders on Tuesday nights.
Late rally by Princeton falls short

By Adam Johnson

Sports Writer

Reach Daron Barefoot at dbarefoot@civitasmedia.com.

Reach Daron Barefoot at dbarefoot@civitasmedia.com.