The Red Springs Red Devils shifted into high gear as they picked up their second Southeastern Conference win in a row as they a hard-fought 54-47 road win over the Fairmont Golden Tornadoes Friday.
Up by only four points with sixteen seconds left in regulation, junior center Larry Brown Jr. tranquilly sank several double bonus free throws to cap the win for the Red Devils.
“It was a roller coaster tonight, up and down,” said a smiling Coach Glenn Patterson after the game. “I thought we got away from things that we wanted to work on in the last quarter. We forced a lot of things and took a lot of shots we shouldn’t have taken. They (Fairmont) made some costly turnovers down the stretch that sealed the game for us, but we’ve got to do a better job in finishing the game.”
After a tight eight minutes to open the first quarter and with a 13-11 for the Red Devils, things got a little tighter as the lead teeter-tottered back and fourth until a left-handed break-away dunk by senior Red Devils guard Kyle Graham knotted the score at 19-19 ith 2:36 remaining in the first half.
Junior forward tied it again at 20-20 under two minutes but Fairmont battled back and took a 21-20 lead into the lockerooms at halftime.
Fairmont forged ahead as the third quarter got underway, but a three-pointer from Red Springs’ senior guard Jameson Leach gave the Red Devils a 26-24 lead, a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the geme.
The Red Devils continues to build on the lead held a slim three-point, 40-37, lead at the end of the third quarter and once again, began pulling away in the opening minutes of the final quarter of regulation.
Red Springs forged ahead, leading by as much as eight points, 48-40, with 2:08 remaining, but Fairmont was not finished yet with the Red Devils.
The Golden Tornadoes pulled to within four points but Brown’s foul shots stifled the Fairmont comeback.
“When we have a lead, we’ve got to be making better shot selections than we did tonight, but I’ll take the win any way I can get it,” said Coach Patterson. “I told the kids I was proud of them and I hope this is a turnaround for us and we’re starting to play some basketball.”
Brown finished the game with a team-high 13 points, had five blocked shots, but came up one short of another double-double with nine rebounds. Graham had 12 points and Glenn Patterson Jr. had 10 points in the win.
Win clinches a playoff spot
The win over the Golden Tornadoes also clinched a second seed and a home game in the upcoming North Carolina High School Athletic Association State Playoffs that begin in the next several weeks, regardless of how the Red Devils finish out the season.
Business as usual
It was business as usual for the Lady Red Devils as the took the wind out of Fairmont and came away with a big, 67-34 win, but Coach Eva Patterson-Heath is still concerned on how smart the girls continue to play
After sprinting out to 20-6 first quarter, Red Springs let the Golden Tornadoes back into the ballgame but not for long as they struggled to find the right shot and make the best pass.
“There are still things that we’re not very smart about,” said Coach Patterson-Heath. “Some of the decisions we made and the passes that we make and even the way we turn, is just so frustrating.”
Senior guard Cortletha Bartley led the Lady Red Devils attack with a game-high 25 points, followed senior center Brittany Bethea with 13 points.
In the boys’ junior varsity game, Red Springs lost 64-37.
Boys blast East Bladen
The Red Devils boys’ basketball team got a little retribution when the Eagles of East Bladen visited Ammons Gymnasium last Tuesday night as Red Springs beat the Eagles, 59-47.
Red Devils’ Larry Brown Jr. pumped in a game-high 19 points and pulled down 14 rebounds for a double-double, in leading his team to their eight win on the season and a 5-4 record in the Southeastern Conference. With the win, it gives the Red Devils a good chance at receiving a bid to the State playoffs if they can win out with three games remaining in the regular season.
“We needed this tonight,” said Red Springs head coach Glenn Patterson. “We’re playing for a number two see out of the Southeastern Conference and I asked the guys when was the last time a Red Springs boys’ team had been to the State playoffs and it’s been about four years. So, I asked them if they wanted a taste, so I told them to go play.”
East Bladen took an early 4-0 lead into the ballgame but a technical foul on one of the players took its toll and allowed the Red Devils back into the ballgame, knotting the score with 4:51 left in the opening quarter. From there, the big momentum shift was in favor of Red Springs as they finished out the first eight minutes with a 17-9 lead.
The Red Devils increased the lead to 11 points in the second stanza with 3:27 left until halftime, but the Eagles went on a run of their own and pulled to within three, 29-26, as the first half came to an end.
From there, the game belonged to the Red Devils, up by nine points at the end of the third quarter allowed East Bladen no closer than nine points the rest of the fourth and final quarter, with the making of free throws a big factor for the Red Devils.
Glenn Patterson Jr. and Kyle Graham hit double figures, too, for the Red Devils, scoring 18 points and 11 points, respectively.
“One of the big things about tonight is that we hit our free throws,” said Coach Patterson. “Tonight was just a big win.”
Girls drop conference game
The Lady Red Devils suffered another agonizing defeat to East Bladen in another low scoring affair, 60-31.
Two quick three-pointers by East Bladen gave an early lead, but the Lady Red Devils battled back to within one point, 10-9, with 1:51 left in the opening eight minutes. However, the Lady Eagles took command, unable to stop Courtney Melvin in the pain and East Bladen (14-2, 9-0 SEC) had 16-9 lead after one quarter.
From there, things went from bad to worse as East Bladen lengthened their lead to 13 at the end of the first half.
The Lady Red Devils (12-5, 5-3 SEC) could only manage two points in the third quarter, a basket by senior Corletha Bartley with 4:25 left and then went on to score 15 more points in the final quarter.
“We talked about scoring and scoring in big games, but tonight, we just didn’t get it,” said Lady Red Devils coach Eva Patterson-Heath. “We can score against West Columbus, we can score against Flora Macdonald, but when its time to score in a big game like tonight, we didn’t get it done. We’ve got to find some scoring in big games and if we don’t, it’s going to be a short season.”
Brittany Bethea and Sherika Murray were the only Red Springs players in double figures with 10 points each.
In the junior varsity games, the Red Springs’ girls lost 26-22; while the boys took recorded a 54-47 loss.