Saints grind out home win

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DUDLEY - It certainly wasn’t a Picasso, DaVinci or Michaelangelo masterpiece by any means.

At times, it resembled a backyard pickup game.

Regardless, Ricky Lofton will take it.

Southern Wayne christened its new gym with a grind-it-out, 42-36 victory over county and Eastern Carolina 3A-4A rival Charles B. Aycock on Wednesday. Ty’Lisha Maye just missed a double-double, 14 points and nine steals, as the Saints snapped a two-game skid.

“We are struggling, but kept fighting and fighting,” Lofton said. “We have not had a lot of practice because of [virus] quarantine, but now we’re getting back into it a little bit. We’ve still got a lot of work to do.

“The girls are getting better. We made plays when we needed to make plays and everybody kept picking each other up.”

Aycock experienced the exact opposite.

The Golden Falcons built a six-point lead, only to see the Saints answer with a 7-0 run. Leach’s traditional three-point play capped the rally early in the second quarter.

Katlyn Parrish knotted the game at 14-14 with a free throw.

However, Aycock lost its scoring touch and managed to log just five points over the next 12 1/2 minutes. The Saints attacked the basket, got to the free throw line and led 30-19 after three periods.

“We’re forcing passes because people are starting too close to the arc,” Pate said. “They needed to be back where they can see, make the defender come out. If the defenders come out, that stretches the defense and the passing lanes open up. 

“When they’re packed in there and you’re right on top of the line, you’ve given yourself no chance. For some reason we’re not figuring that out even though I say it every day in practice.”

The Golden Falcons clawed to within 39-34 on Kaitlyn Smith’s 3-pointer, but could get no closer. JaMaya Leach and Jamaiya Bass combined to drain three free throws and clinch the Saints’ fifth straight win over their county rival.

Leach led all scorers with 19 points and snared five rebounds. Bass posted seven points. Katie Toler wiped the glass for five rebounds.

Southern Wayne (1-2 overall, 1-1 ECC) overcame 18 turnovers and a miserable 14 of 33 effort at the free throw line.

Smith and Abbey Thomas paced Aycock with 10 and nine points, respectively. The Golden Falcons fell to 1-2 overall and 1-2 in league matters heading into today’s outing at South Lenoir.

“We are better than what we showed today and I guarantee you the team we play tomorrow is going to suffer for it,” Pate said. “We’re going to get back to the drawing board and fix what was broke.”

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