DUDLEY - It’s a good thing Ricky Lofton shaves his head.
If not, he’d have plenty of extra gray hair covering his noggin’.
Then again, he may not mind the “salty” look as long as Southern Wayne continues to grind out victories on the basketball court.
Ty’Lisha Maye drained four consecutive free throws in the closing seconds and lifted the Saints past New Bern, 33-30, in Eastern Carolina 3A-4A Conference play Friday evening.
“It was a tough one,” Lofton said. “Our girls didn’t quit, kept battling. At first, we were frustrated because we couldn’t get anything going. We really don’t have any post girls, so we have to play with what we’ve got.”
Southern Wayne (2-2 overall, 2-1 ECC) lost Aleesha Boyette to an injury two games into the season. Sophomore Ta’Niyah Glaspie tore her ACL last February and has been cleared to play, but the season will end before she can step onto the court.
The Saints trailed 18-13 at halftime.
Tenacious defense led to turnovers and sparked a 15-5 run.
Elaina Lane’s layup off Maye’s assist knotted the contest at 23-23. Jamaiya Bass’ offensive outback off her own missed shot pushed Southern Wayne in front, 25-23.
New Bern (1-4, 1-4) closed to within 28-26 on Kyla Brice’s 3-pointer. The Bears stayed within a single possession until Maye sealed the outcome at the three throw line.
Maye stuffed her stat sheet with nine steals, three rebounds and four assists. Bass contributed five points and eight rebounds. JaMaya Leach chipped in three points and grabbed six rebounds.
New Bern closed the first half on a 22-5 run and cruised 65-37.
Tayvon Callahan emerged as the Saints’ top scorer with 12 points, while Chris Carmon tallied seven.
Southern Wayne remained winless in six outings this season.
After the team finished wind sprints, some removed their jerseys while they walked toward the locker room.
“I’m tired of losing games,” guard Jabri Pearsall said. “Are y’all tired of losing?”
The Saints trailed 13-12 after one quarter, but turnovers against the Bears’ 1-2-2 half court press told the story. The miscues allowed New Bern (4-2, 4-2) to flourish in transition and break open the game.
“It got physical and we backed down,” SW head coach Dwight Smith said. “We came out [after halftime] with a little bit more aggression and played a little tougher, but you can’t spot a team 20-some points when we’re struggling to score.”
Smith didn’t immediately address his players after the game.
“They’re in the locker room talking it out among themselves right now,” he said.
Southern Wayne broke into the win column with a come-from-behind, 51-42 conquest of New Bern.
Jemere Miller paced the Saints with 12 points, followed by Kiaris Bellamy with 11. Richard Noble and Chris McDuffie posted 10 and nine points, respectively.