Despite holding the lead for the first half, the Lakewood Leopards lost to county rivals Union, 61-54, on the road Wednesday night.
The Spartans fell behind the Leopards in the first quarter, which ended at 16-10 with Lakewood having the advantage.
The second quarter began promising for the Spartans as they quickly closed the gap at 16-13. Lakewood quickly grew the lead but as Union pushed back hard, the score stood at 18-17 by the middle of the quarter. Even as things looked promising for the Spartans as they once more caught up to within a point of Lakewood at 21-20, the Leopards rose their score to 27-20, reestablishing the lead for themselves.
Ending the quarter at 29-25, there were only four points between the two teams. In a turn of events a hard-fought quarter ended at 36-35 with the Spartans finally taking the lead from the Leopards in the final seconds of the period.
This proved to be Unions launching point as they spent the entire final quarter in the lead. Growing it greatly before Lakewood’s push to close the gap was ended by the clock resulting in a score of 61-54.
“I think my kids came in a bit overconfident,” said Union coach Colt Pierce. “They thought they could come in here and cruise, but Lakewood was a good team, they had a guy playing lights out. But once we pulled ahead, the team realized we had to secure the win our we could lose. We need to work on defense to make sure we do better next time.”
Union improves to 7-10 overall and 4-3 in the conference and will have the chance to test their defense again at North Duplin Friday. As for the Leopards, they are still without a win on the season at 0-12 and 0-4 in the conference. They head to Rosewood on Friday.
Reach Chris Froat at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @SampsonInd.