Pine cruises to opening round playoff victory

Published 4:15 pm Monday, February 23, 2015

Pine’s Lady Raiders jumped out to a 15-3 lead through the first quarter and never looked back in a 63-33 victory over General Trass in the opening round of the Class 2A state playoffs at home Thursday.

The sixth-seeded Lady Raiders never trailed in Thursday’s contest, which led to them cutting down one of the nets as they celebrated the playoff victory.

Pine coach Lynell Pope said getting off to a good start was extremely important.

“To put it away early was our goal, so we stayed motivated through the day,” Pope said. “They worked so hard all week. This is what we practiced for, to put it away early.”

And they did.

Pine got on the board when Morgan Thomas connected with Breyanna Brown for a layup and a 2-0 lead at the 7:08 mark of the first quarter.

No. 27 General Trass tied the contest 50 seconds later on Kojerion Hawkins’ layup.

The Lady Raiders put up the next 11 points.

Thomas and Brown were the duo for the next field goal. This time Brown found Thomas for a layup with 5:15 remaining.

Kaylee Turnage, who put up six points, made it 5-2 by splitting from the free-throw line. Brown got to a loose ball around General Trass’ offensive 3-point line and took it the rest of the way for two more to make it 7-2.

Brown then found Thomas again for a bucket for a 9-2 lead, forcing General Trass to call timeout at about the 3:40 mark.

Brown tacked on three more to the lead with a trey, giving her club a 12-2 advantage.

Chelsey Turnage, who posted six points, finished off the run by splitting free throws. Pine led 13-2 with 43.8 seconds left in the opening period.

Brown led all scorers with 26 points.

Defensively, the team was tough the entire night. The Lady Raiders allowed just 10 points in the first half.

“We practiced and practiced. We had to study them,” Brown said.

Brown said they didn’t know much about General Trass. The school is located in Lake Providence, which is about 3.5-hours from Pine.

“We just knew they had No. 12 (Cierra Handsborough) and that we had to stop her, that’s all,” Brown said.

Handsborough scored 10 points.

Pine essentially put the game away to close out the first half.

Leading, 19-10, with 5:19 left, Pine capped off the second quarter with 12-unanswered points.

Brown hit for two after Pine grabbed several offensive rebounds with 4:53 on the clock. Ny Ny Robertson, who put up six points, scored the next four on a pair of free throws and a layup to make it 25-10.

Laken Breedlove, who logged seven points, banked in a shot. Brown added the next three. First, she came up with a steal and hit the following layup before going one for two from the free-throw line. It was 30-10 with 1:59 remaining in the first half.

Both teams were held scoreless until the end of the period when Kaylee Turnage grabbed an offensive rebound and was good on the follow-up shot to make it 32-10 at the break.

Handsborough ended General Trass’ scoring drought just 16 seconds into the second half with a three but Brown got an offensive board and hit the put back for a 34-13 advantage with 7:01 left.

The teams traded buckets at the 6:30 mark, but the 21-point margin was the closest General Trass got for the rest of the contest.

The Lady Raiders led, 49-18, after three before going on to the, 63-33, victory.

Pine, which captured the District 8-2A title with an 8-0 record, is 23-7 this season.

The Lady Raiders are back in action Feb. 23 against 11th-seeded Riverside Academy, with tipoff set for 6 p.m., in the regional round of the playoffs. Riverside was victorious over No. 22 Haynes Academy, 51-34. The winner faces either third-seeded St. Thomas Aquinas or 14th-seeded Episcopal.

Also for Pine, Thomas had four points while Carley Voth, Lacie Fletcher, Diamond Wilson and Savannah Kennedy had two each.

General Trass, the District 2-2A runner up finishes with a 7-17 record.

Also for General Trass, Hawkins had nine points while Charledra Bailey posted six, Ladrianna Smith had five and Wynn Delanna Branch added three.