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Second half surge does in Lady Knights

Posted: January 4, 2018 9:50 a.m.
Updated: January 5, 2018 1:00 a.m.
Tom Didato/C-I

THAT'S USING YOUR HEAD: North Central’s Assata Kirkley (12) clutches the basketball against the side of her head after winning this battle for a rebound with Lee Central’s Ke’Osha Evins during second half action from Tuesday night’s game in Boonetown.

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Just when it looked like North Central was preparing to make a run at Lee Central, the visitors from Bishopville pulled the rug out from under the Lady Knights.

Using a second-half opening 21-4 run, the Lady Stallions handed North Central its second loss in as many Region 4-AA outings by leaving The Castle in Boonetown with a 60-34 victory Tuesday night.

Playing for the first time since a second-place finish in the Mid-Carolina Credit Union Holiday Classic in Camden on Dec. 20, the Lady Knights showed some of the rust which comes with such a lengthy layoff. In the second half, the hostesses seemed a bit leg weary as LC stretched what was a 26-22 halftime advantage to a 41-22 cushion thanks to a 12-0 run in the first four-plus minutes of the third quarter.

The post-halftime rally nearly mirrored that which the visitors started the night as the Lady Stallions jumped to a 10-3 advantage the first four-minutes and 25 seconds of the contest.

“We came out flat,” said first-year Lady Knights’ head coach David Dawson whose team slipped to 5-5 on the season. “It was a long layoff and I think it may have been too much of a layoff over Christmas break.

“This is a very humbling experience. Hopefully, we can come back … bounce back … from this for our next game (tonight with Cheraw.)

In what amounted to a bit of a 2-on-2 match, NC’s Kali Tomlin and Peyton Holley combined to score all but five of their team’s points with Tomlin’s 16 leading the way while Holley added 13. That was no match for the Lady Stallion duo of Kendra Lesane and Robionne Myers, who poured in 46 with Lesane leading all scorers with 24 points including four 3-point baskets.

It was Lesane who got the visitors off and running with a pair of 3-point jumpers and a layin, on a 2-on-1 fast break, which helped LC get out to a quick 10-0 lead less than four minutes into the game. The Lady Knights settled down, using a trey from Tomlin and later a Holley putback, to close the deficit to 10-7 in a first quarter which ended with the guests leading, 14-7.

The LC advantage grew to 21-9 following another Lesane 3-ball with 5:30 left in the opening half. A trey from Tomlin touched off a half-closing 13-8 Lady Knight spurt which included four Tomlin free throws and three more from Holley. Holley then stuck an eight-foot runner in the paint to slice the lead to 27-21 in a second quarter in which the sophomore guard scored six points to go along with nine from Tomlin, a junior guard.

North Central was unable to sustain the momentum gained in the second quarter, however. Thanks to six points from Lesane, the Lady Stallions embarked on a 12-0 spree and with 3:36 left in the third, the advantage stood at 41-22. The Lady Knights scored a pair of buckets --- courtesy of junior center Amarhi Boykin and Holley --- in a third quarter which closed with Lesane drilling a buzzer-beating 3-ball after having taken the inbounds pass from under the LC basket which upped the ante to 22 points as the guests led, 48-26, heading into the final eight minutes of the contest.

Dawson tipped his hat to the Lady Stallions (2-7, 2-0 in 4AA) for taking control of the game by coming out of the locker room red-hot after halftime.

“They came out and were able to pull away in the third quarter,” Dawson said. “Like I said, we had quite a bit of a layoff after Christmas break. That may be something that I have to look at and review and see how we can handle that next time. We just have to come out and play harder, though.”

LC (60): Tahsanna Dennis 4 2-4 10, Kendra Lesane 10 0-0 24, Miya Gokey 0 0-1 0, Robionne Myers 9 3-4 22, Desiree Holmes 0 2-2 2, Ny’Jeria Reddick 1 0-0 2. Totals: 24 7-11 60

NC (34): Kali Tomlin 4 6-6 16, Amarhi Boykin 1 2-2 4, Peyton Holley 4 4-6 13, Assata Kirkley 0 1-2 1. Totals: 9 13-16 34

Score by quarters: First: LC, 14-7; Halftime: LC, 29-22; Third: LC, 48-26; Three-point goals: LC 5 (Lesane 4, Myers), NC 3 (Tomlin 2, Holley)

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