Warriors upend Hobgood

Published 10:56 am Thursday, February 25, 2010

HOBGOOD – “The outlook wasn’t brilliant” so the poem begins.

That was likely true for Lawrence Academy Friday night as well. The Warriors came in having lost a pair to Tarheel Independent Conference champion Hobgood Academy already. They were playing in the Raiders’ home gym and they fell behind 8-0 early on.

Where Casey in the aforementioned verses ended up striking out, Lawrence’s varsity boys did not as they rallied to a 44-32 victory to claim the TIC tournament championship.

“With a quick turnaround between their semifinal game on Friday and the tournament championship on Saturday, we chose not to hold a practice on Saturday morning,” said Warriors’ coach Jon Powell. “Instead the team was provided a simple, but difficult, game plan about 30 minutes before game time: change defenses each trip down the court; press and trap intermittently; eliminate the scoring of Hobgood’s guards; double their big man and TIC player of the year candidate.”

While it ended well, the Warriors didn’t get started well at all.

TIC Player of the Year Hank Edmondson hit the first basket of the game followed moments later by a Thomas McDowell triple. Dusty Knox added a free throw before Edmondson scored again to give the Raiders an 8-0 lead and force Powell to call a timeout.

As that break ended, Powell told his team, “You got yourselves into it, now get yourselves out of it.”

The Warriors seemed to take the advice to heart, with Evan Holton getting fouled on successive trips and hitting all four free throws to close the gap to 8-4.

Hobgood got a triple from Shahe Manning to push their lead out to 11-4, but the Warriors again came back. This time it was Shabazz Atkins who hit three straight buckets to get the Warriors within 11-10 with 48 seconds left in the first quarter.

Knox scored before the quarter ended to give Hobgood a 13-10 lead heading into the second period.

Atkins started the second quarter by sandwiching a hoop and two free throws around a pair from Edmondson at the free throw line as Lawrence was back within one (15-14) at the 7:04 mark.

Edmondson scored again to stave off the Lawrence effort, but a Chad Whitehead hoop and an Atkins free throw left the game tied at 17-all with 4:32 to play in the first half.

From there, the Warriors were able to exert control, getting a bucket from Chase Stevens and a triple and free throw from Atkins to surge ahead 23-17. Knox added a free throw for the Raiders to close the gap to 23-18 at the intermission.

The Warriors continued to control the tempo early in the second half when Atkins started with a field goal that was followed by a three-pointer from Whitehead that gave the Warriors a 28-18 lead.

Hobgood came back with Edmondson, Knox and Manning hitting consecutive hoops as they closed within 28-24 with 5:31 to play in the third quarter.

Trace Larabee then buried a three-pointer that stopped the run and gave Lawrence a 31-24 edge at the 5:09 mark.

Hobgood outscored Lawrence 5-4 in the remaining five minutes of the quarter to close within 35-29 heading into the final quarter.

Lawrence scored just three times from the floor in the fourth period, but held Hobgood without a basket as they went on to the 44-32 win.

Atkins was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player at the end of the evening. Joining him on the All-Tournament Team were Trace Larabee, Evan Holton and Chad Whitehead.

The Warriors earned a number 10 seed in the NCISAA 1-A playoffs and traveled to Davidson Day School Tuesday night where they fell 78-34.