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LAW teams power way to finals

MERRY HILL – There’ll be a lot of green-and-gold on display Friday night.

Lawrence Academy’s varsity girls and boys basketball teams won their semi-final contests, including the Warrior boys knocking off defending champion Pungo Christian Academy, here Tuesday night.  The twin wins meant Lawrence had punched its ticket to Friday’s final of the 2014 Lt. Nick Brantley Memorial Scholarship Tournament sponsored by United Country Joe Murray Realty and the Roanoke-Chowan NEWS-HERALD.

Lauren Baker was a one-woman bomb squad for the Lady Warriors in their 63-26 win. The shooting guard struck for 18 points thanks to four three-pointers.  Teammate Maggie Daniels added 14 more as all eight Lawrence ladies that dressed out for the game made it into the scorebook.

Lawrence pressed defensively for most the game and the numerous turnovers by the Lady Raiders were turned into points.  Coach Lee Hoffman chose to attack the Pungo middle, despite the presence of 5-11 center Taylor Mann.  The Lady Warriors led 17-4 after the first quarter.

The home team opened the second quarter with a 13-1 run to make it 30-5.  The two teams played even the rest of the way and it was 37-11 at the mid-break.

Lawrence continued to pour it on as Pungo continued to misfire.  The lead grew to 30 points at 50-20 and the Warriors had the same bulge at the break, 52-22.

With so few players Hoffman relied more on rotation than substitution, but that didn’t make it any better for his opponent. An 11-1 run made it a 40-point lead at 63-23 before Lawrence settled into the 63-26 final.

In the boys’ contest, Lawrence used the interior size of the Holton twins: Nathaniel and Nicholas to open the contest.   Nick scored the first six of the game, all on put backs, for Lawrence and the Warriors never looked back from there.  It was 20-11 after the first quarter.

The young Raiders tried to climb back into it by dropping a bunch of three-pointers, but Lawrence got the lead up to ten at halftime, 30-20, thanks to their size and speed.

Both teams had short runs in the third quarter but Pungo could never get the lead below 10.  While Coach Jon Powell rested his starters, chiding them sometimes for their unselfish play, Lawrence padded the lead to a dozen, 41-29, after three.

With their Belhaven crowd urging them on, Pungo cut it to ten three times in the fourth quarter, but the Warriors were relentless.  Claiming a 15-point lead, 48-33, with under five minutes to go, Trey Styons penetrated for a couple of quick lay-ups and with 1:50 to play Lawrence was ahead by 20, 54-34.  Even play the rest of the way led to the 19-point win, 59-40.

The win was Lawrence’s fourth in a row after opening the season with back-to-back losses.  The Warriors (4-2) now head to Friday’s championship game at Ridgecroft where they will face Southampton Academy, who is making their second trip to the finals in the last three years.