Warriors look to three-peat

Published 11:29 pm Tuesday, November 15, 2011

AHOSKIE – Lawrence Academy is looking to threepeat.

The Warriors earned a fourth straight trip to the finals of the Lt. Nick Brantley Scholarship Tournament Friday as they knocked off Bethel Christian Academy 55-52. Lawrence has won the last three titles at the event which is co-sponsored by United Country Joe Murray Realty and the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald.

They earned the opportunity to return to the finals thanks to a 19-point effort from Darren Armstrong and a 10-point performance from senior Chase Stevens. Kyle Freeman led Bethel with 24 points.

Through three quarters the teams were tied at 39-all leaving the two Bertie County rivals to fight it out in the fourth period.

Stevens started that final quarter with a field goal that was followed by an Armstrong free throw that gave the Warriors a 42-39 edge.

Freeman, however, rolled off six straight points of his own as the Eagles surged ahead 45-42.

The Warriors weren’t done, however, as Hunter Askew scored from the charity stripe before Ryan Lilley buried a triple to put Lawrence ahead 46-45. Moments later Armstrong completed an old-fashioned three-point play and the lead was 49-45 with just 2:15 to play.

Anthony Rascoe added a hoop for Lawrence 16 seconds later and it appeared the Warriors were coasting, but the Eagles had other ideas.

Freeman hit two from the free throw line and then scored with 29 seconds to play to make it a two-point game (51-49).

The Warriors, however, were able to seal the win at the charity stripe as they hit 4-of-6 from that spot over the final 30 seconds.

Shane Tripp buried a three-point from half court as the buzzer sounded to establish the 55-52 final.

Tripp had 18 for the Eagles and Daniel Feher chipped in 10.

The game was just that close throughout as the two teams battled through one quarter only to see Lawrence lead 11-10.

Armstrong had the game’s first score, but was quickly answered by Freeman. After a Lilley free throw, Feher got a score as the Eagles took a 4-3 edge.

Lawrence came back with four straight points – a hoop each from Armstrong and Jesse White – as they went ahead 7-6.

Feher, Tripp and Freeman – the only three players to score for Bethel – had successive shots and the Eagles took a 10-7 lead. Stevens and Armstrong, however, answered to give LA a one-point edge.

Tripp scored to open the second quarter as Bethel retook the lead only to see Nathaniel Holton respond on the other end. Tripp and Stevens then exchanged three-pointers as Lawrence again had a one-point edge (16-15).

Armstrong then scored again and Stevens connected from behind the arc to push the Warriors ahead 21-15.

Freeman scored to start a 6-2 Bethel run as the Eagles pulled back within two at 23-21. Moments later a triple from Freeman closed the gap to one (25-24) and the two teams just exchanged scores from there with Lawrence leading 27-26 at the intermission.

Tripp again started the next period with a shot that gave his team the lead, but White came back with a triple that gave Lawrence a two-point edge. That was erased when Feher scored to deadlock the game at 30-all.

The teams exchanged scores over the remainder of the period setting up the 39-all tie at the end of the quarter.

The win gave Lawrence a chance to repeat as champions of the tournament when they square off with Ridgecroft School in Friday’s final.

Bethel will meet Northeast Academy in the Consolation Game on Thursday.