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Lawrence girls defeat PCA

ELIZABETH CITY – The rubber match went to Lawrence Academy.

After splitting in their regular season meetings, the third-seeded Lady Warriors of Lawrence took the deciding match with sixth-seeded Pungo Christian Academy in the first round of the Tarheel Independent Conference tournament. The varsity girls’ basketball team won 45-38.

“I thought the girls played well as far as taking care of the basketball,” Warriors’ Head Coach Jack Williford said. “I can live with 11 turnovers.

“I also thought we played good collapsing defense,” he continued. “They hit some threes, but they also missed some which allowed us to get rebounds, which was another key for us to win.”

Despite leading most of the game, Lawrence was in a tenuous position of holding just a two-point advantage (25-23) early in the fourth quarter.

After Jodi Rose closed the Lady Raiders to within a deuce, however, Lawrence senior Kendall Street took control of the basketball game. She hit three consecutive hoops and added a free throw after the final one to lift Lawrence to a 32-23 advantage.

Not to be left behind, Jordan Dunbar buried a triple at the other end for Pungo, but Street was soon back at the charity stripe for another pair of shots. In fact, Street almost lived at the free throw line in the fourth quarter, hitting 13 shots in a row from the stripe in the period. She was 14-of-16 total for the night.

After Street’s free throws, Tess Smithwick scored for Pungo.

Street again hit both ends of a 1-plus-1 opportunity and the Raiders responded with a triple from Brinkley Johnson to get within 36-31 with just 1:39 to play.

While Street was perfect from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter, Pungo missed six consecutive shots from the free throw line to hurt their cause.

Street ended up with 32 points, 19 of which came in the final period, to go along with 21 rebounds.

“Kendall had an excellent night,” Williford said. “You can’t ask for much more than 32 points and 21 boards.”

Kathryn Taylor also had a solid evening on the board with 10 rebounds. She added three assists and two points. Leanne Eubanks had nine rebounds and three points for Lawrence.

Pungo made just one basket in the first quarter and trailed 13-3 after the period.

Street, Kathryn Gilbert, Eubanks and Debbie Stotesbury all scored for Lawrence during the quarter, answered only by a single shot from Smithwick.

The Lady Warriors didn’t fare well in the second period as they didn’t score until Sarah Gillam found the net with 2:20 to play in the period. Street added a basket later in the quarter to help Lawrence take a 17-10 lead into the locker room.

Dunbar scored a deuce and a three-pointer back-to-back to open the third quarter and, after a Taylor hoop for Lawrence, hit another triple to close the Raiders to within a single point at 19-18.

Street and Stotesbury hit consecutive hoops to give Lawrence a five-point advantage, but Johnson scored from behind the arc to make it 23-21.

A Street hoop late in the quarter gave Lawrence a 25-21 edge heading into the final period.

The win advanced the Lady Warriors to Friday’s semifinal contest with second-seeded Hobgood Academy. Those two teams also split during the regular season.

Lady Warriors (45): Kendall Street n 32, Debbie Stotesbury n 4, Leanne Eubanks n 3, Kathryn Gilbert n 2, Sarah Gillam n 2, Kathryn Taylor n 2

Lady Raiders (38): Jordan Dunbar n 14, Brinkley Johnson n 11, Tess Smithwick n 7, Jodi Rose n 2, Kim Clayton n 2, Breatte Garrison – 2