Lancaster and South Pointe have developed a bit of a rivalry in Region 3-3A girls basketball, and the teams’ top-five rankings in the state polls raised the stakes that much further.
Stallions coach Stephanie Butler even had her team scrimmage the ninth-grade boys to attempt to replicate the Bruins’ speed and defensive intensity.
The two teams certainly didn’t disappoint Friday night.
Lancaster got 19 points from star guard Malia Rivers and held off a late South Pointe charge for a 55-51 victory.
South Pointe (13-3, 3-1 Region 3-3A) kept Lancaster (17-0, 5-0) in check during a low-scoring first quarter, after which the Stallions maintained a one-point lead. The pressure and hot shooting that worried Butler appeared in the second quarter, dominated by the hometown Bruins.
Lancaster held South Pointe to just five points in the period, much to the delight of a near-capacity crowd. The Bruins took a 29-14 advantage to the halftime locker room.
“We left 13 points out there in the first half,” said Lancaster coach Ronnie Robinson. “We missed 13 free throws. We left too many points on the floor.”
The run Robinson expected came in the third quarter, as the Stallions slowly chipped away at the Bruin lead. Lancaster maintained just a four-point lead after the third quarter.
“I told them they (South Pointe) were going to come out in this third quarter, and they were going to be ready. We had to make sure we were ready to handle the run, because that’s what a game is. One team gets a run, the next one gets a run. We came out real flat. I just told them we had to bounce back and get ourselves together, get our composure together and try to go out and play and finish.”
The South Pointe pressure continued into the fourth, as the Stallions seemed to have an answer for every Lancaster attempt to make the margin a bit more comfortable. South Pointe finally pulled to within two at 51-49 with just more than 50 seconds to play, but a late Bruin timeout helped stem the tide. Lancaster was able to close out the game at the free throw line.
“(I told them) just to play with composure,” said Robinson of the conversation in the final timeout. “We’ve got to make sure we do the little things. The main thing was just doing the little things.”
Izzy Clark led the Stallions with 16, despite missing most of the first half after collecting three fouls.
“She’s a shooter. She’s a scorer. She came in and made things happen. When she got back on the floor, everybody just came into a flow with them, and that was a big thing,” Robinson said.
Rivers led Lancaster with 19, with Zaira Woods adding 12.
Lancaster 55, South Pointe 51
SP: Breana Davis 5, Denisha Hall 7, Izzy Clark 16, T’Keia Williams 6, Cameron Davis 7, T’Kaja Williams 6, Sasha Barber 2, Sydney Chisholm 2.
Lanc.: Malia Rivers 19, Kaela Robinson 6, Alexis Williams 2, Keyotta Garris 3, Hayden Thorne 4, Amirah Stewart 4, Zaria Woods 12, Mia Flowers 5.
Team fouls: South Pointe 31, Lancaster 25. Fouled out- Hall (SP), T’Keia Williams (SP); Alexis Williams (L).
3-pointers: South Pointe 3 (Hall, T’Keia Williams, Clark); Lancaster 4 (Rivers 2, Robinson, Stewart).
Records: South Pointe 13-3, 3-1 Region 3-3A; Lancaster 17-0, 5-0.
South Pointe 106 , Lancaster 71 (boys)
South Pointe got out to an early lead on Lancaster on the road Friday night and never took its foot off the accelerator, cruising to a 106-71 victory.
The Stallions (10-5, 5-0 Region 3-3A) led the Bruins (8-10, 3-2) by 13 points after one quarter, 30 at the half and 41 after three.
“It (5-0 in region play) is a good start for us,” said South Pointe coach Melvin Watson after the game. “We’ve got to stay focused, execute and play together and play hard, and I think we’ll be OK.”
South Pointe forward Nick McCloud was injured during the game, suffering what Watson described as a high ankle sprain.
“That’s a big loss for us. He’s our energy guy. He brings the effort defensively to get us going, so that’s a big loss for us,” Watson said.
Marveon Mobley led three Stallions in double digits with 20 points. Quay Brown added 15 and Devion Burris 10.
SP: Quay Brown 15, Pete Branham 16, Deshawn Davis 6, Josh Wilks 2, Gabe Kirk 5, Deshawn Holly 4, Devion Burris 10, Shaheem Sanders 4, Wyatt Reid 2, Derrion Kendrick 7, Maveon Mobley 20, Dennis Brown 6, Zy Williams 5, Colton Ferrell 4 .
Lanc.: Q. McCarter 8, J. Killian 10, M. Cousar 4, T. Tinsley 12, N. McGriff 12, J. Stevenson 8, CJ Brown 6, T Hammond 2, L. Johnson 8, K. Crawford 1.
Team fouls: South Pointe 31, Lancaster 20.
Fouled out: None. 3-pointers- South Pointe 7 (Branham 3, Burris 2, Mobley 2); Lancaster 3 (Stevenson, CJ Brown 2).
Records: South Pointe 10-5, 5-0 Region 3-3A; Lancaster 8-10, 3-2.