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Lawrence Co. splits with N. Pike

MONTICELLO — North Pike and Lawrence County split a seasonopening basketball doubleheader at the LCHS gymnasium Tuesdaynight. In varsity girls play, the Lady Jaguars won a spiritedcontest, 58-53. In varsity boys play, Lawrence County was incontrol from the outset, earning a 65-45 win. Both boys teams werewithout key players who are still involved in the high schoolfootball season.

The LCHS-North Pike matchup came together after North Pike’stournament, scheduled for last weekend, was cancelled becausegymnasium renovations aren’t quite finished. North Pike is now setto open its grand facility a week from Friday, against WestMarion.

North Pike’s Nov. 4 home game has been moved to Brookhaven.

North Pike 58, Lawrence Co. 53

The girls game was a dandy, with the two teams battling back andforth. North Pike jumped to an early lead, only to see the hostLady Cougars battle back in the second quarter. LCHS went stonecold in the fourth, as the Lady Jags opened another seeminglycomfortable lead. Lawrence County knotted the game at 44-44 in thefourth, only to see North Pike pull out the win.

“It was a game of spurts,” said North Pike coach Lance Golmon, aLawrence County graduate. “They (Lawrence County) are small, butthey get after you on the boards. I’ll bet they outrebounded ustonight.

“Down the stretch I thought our conditioning paid off. We hit 18of 21 free throws in the fourth quarter,” Golman noted. “That’s agreat percentage any time in the game, much less for the fourthquarter.”

Olivia Kennedy led the Lady Jaguars with 16 points. She had 2third-quarter 3-pointers that pushed North Pike into the lead.Brittany Patterson added 12 points, hitting 8 of 8 free throws inthe decisive fourth quarter. Jontesna Robinson scored 10points.

For Coach Vicki Rutland’s Lady Cougars, freshman Tiara Griffinled the way with 15 points, while junior Khatara Taylor added 14.Griffin’s 9 fourth-quarter points gave the Lady Cougars a chance.Taylor hit 8 of 10 free throw attempts.

While disappointed with the loss, Rutland, who has overseen amajor rebuilding effort in her 3 years at LCHS, conceded thatbrighter days might be ahead for her team.

“We’re getting better,” Rutland said, “and it would have been agreat confidence-builder to have pulled this one out. We’ve gotsome very talented young players, and some veteran leaders who aredoing a great job for us.”

Lawrence Co. 65. North Pike 45

In boys play, Coach Preston Wilson’s Cougars jumped out earlyand never looked back, at one point leading by as many as 37points.

Senior Leroy Fifer led LCHS with 14 points, 5 rebounds, and 4steals. Willie Toney added 10 points and 4 rebounds. Devin Millishad 8 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals. Thirteen different Cougarsscored in the game. Wilson substituted heavily as early as thesecond quarter. Khalid Baylis had 5 assists and 3 steals.

“It’s good to get the first one under your belt,” Wilson said.”We’ve been practicing for a long time. We were ready to seesomeone else.”

For North Pike, coached by Keith Russ, Jacob Morgan had 21points, and Spencer Yarborough added 11.

Lawrence County will host Tylertown on Thursday night. NorthPike will next be in action next Tuesday, at Brookhaven.