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Lawrence lads roll

MERRY HILL – The seniors went out in style.

Five Lawrence Academy varsity girls played their final game at the Merry Hill School Friday. In the process they defeated Albemarle School 54-30 to finish third in the Tarheel Independent Conference.

“It’s always good to win at home, but especially on senior night,” Sarah Gillam said after the game. “I think we have surprised a lot of people this season.”

All five seniors and both underclassmen scored for the Lady Warriors during their victory. Kendall Street led the club with 19 points while classmate Kathryn Taylor added 10 for the night. Gillam added seven while seniors Rachel Taylor (6) and Kathryn Gilbert (2) also scored during the night.

While they were busy celebrating the comfortable victory, the Warriors were already thinking about this week’s Tarheel Independent Conference tournament.

“It was a good way to end the regular season, but now it’s time to get ready for the tournament,” Rachel Taylor said. “Now there’s no tomorrow. The next time we lose, we will have played our last game.”

The Lady Warriors will enter the TIC tournament as the number three seed, by far their highest rating in the past five years. The team has taken a season of change and made it one that is also about success.

“We brought Lawrence Academy girls basketball back,” Taylor said.

Gillam agreed.

“This is the best team chemistry we have had in the years I’ve played,” she said. “We know we all have to contribute for us to be successful. It’s about one team, one heartbeat.”

Chemistry is the reason for the success, according to first-year Head Basketball Coach Jack Williford.

“I think they improved as much as you could have asked for with learning a new system,” he said. “I’m really proud of them.”

Williford said Street had been the team leader and that Kathryn Taylor was the most improved player on the team and maybe the most improved in the TIC.

“Rachel and Kathryn Gilbert really improved defensively which helped us more than anyone can know,” he said. “Defense is the key to victory for us.”

He added that he was proud of Gillam for finally believing in her shot.

“I know she was tired of me hollering ‘shoot the ball Sarah,’” he mused.

The coach said his team had worked hard and were competitive all season.

“Except for maybe one or two ball games, we were competitive all season which is a great thing for a team of seven girls,” he said.

The Lady Warriors finished the TIC with a 7-5 mark and will be the number three seed in the TIC tournament. They open up in the tournament Tuesday night when they meet sixth-seeded Pungo Christian Academy.