Raiders down Lawrence boys

Published 4:29 pm Monday, January 9, 2012

MERRY HILL – Time to show it.

Lawrence Academy’s very young boys basketball team played a brutal schedule the first half of the prep basketball season; but as the calendar turns, so too – they hope – will their hoop fortunes.

Things got derailed a bit Friday night when the Hobgood Raiders came to Merry Hill and came away with an 11-point, 63-52, win over the Warriors.

Jesse White led the Warrior’s offensive effort with 15 points, a dozen scored in the first half before getting into foul trouble in the second half.  Hunter Askew had 10 with all of his scoring coming in the second half.

Shane Morning of Hobgood led all scorers with 26 while teammate Mical Farmer poured in 16.

“Our shots weren’t falling in the first half,” shrugged Warriors coach Jon Powell.

In as physical a contest as this one was, Lawrence was whistled for three first quarter fouls, but flagged for six in the second quarter.  Hobgood had six in the first quarter, but just one in the second.

“We had them in foul trouble,” said Powell. “It went from six fouls on us to 10 fouls on us and six for them in a span of about three minutes in the first half and that changed the whole nature of the basketball game.

“Our guys just didn’t recover from missing those jump shots that should’ve gone down, have gone down,” he added. “I think when those shots didn’t fall they just lost their confidence and that’s a hard thing to get back when you’re a young team.”

After falling behind, 5-1, in the opening minutes of the contest Lawrence fought back with a scoop layup from White and one of two free throws drained by Darren Armstrong to make it, 5-4.

It was 7-4 when White was fouled after making a layup and the resulting three-point play from the made free throw knotted the score at 7-all.

Lawrence went ahead on their next possession thanks to a White three-pointer from beyond the arc and the Warriors first lead, 10-7.

Nathaniel Holton got his only points of the game next time down the floor to make it a 12-7 Lawrence lead; but the five-point bulge, their biggest lead of the night, was all they’d score for the quarter.

Blake Stevens got a three-point play to make it 12-10 and John Harrell’s three-point basket just before the buzzer gave the Raiders the lead for good at 13-12.

Despite being whistled for two quick fouls that led to three Hobgood points to open the second quarter, Lawrence was able to trim the Raider lead to just a single digit, 16-15, on another bomb from White.

But as fouls began to rack up for the Warriors, the Raiders went on an 8-0 run to take a nine-point lead, 24-15.  Lawrence closed the quarter with a 4-1 run that left the score, 25-19, at the break.

Hobgood opened the third quarter on a 7-3 spurt pushing their lead to a dozen, 32-20, before Armstrong got physical underneath with a couple of put-backs; but the Raiders countered and the lead was 10, 34-24.

The quarter closed out with another Raider run and their then-largest lead, 44-27.

Lawrence’s offensive punch returned in the final frame, which they won by outscoring the visitors, 25-to-19, but it was too little, too late.

After the Warriors reduced the deficit to 14, 50-36, Hobgood made their final run of the night and upped the margin to 20, 61-41.  Lawrence, however, ended the game with a run of their own, 11-2.

The Warriors final points of the night provided the best moment of the night as a half-court shot by Askew ripped the nets just before the final buzzer sounded.  It pleased the crowd, but didn’t soothe the loss.

“I never know from night to night how we’ll play,” said Raiders coach Joe McDowell after the game, “Even though we were inconsistent tonight our effort was good and we played together.”

Lawrence played Pungo at home Monday night before they begin a five-game road trip. The Warriors won’t return home before the end of the month on January 25.