SELF-INFLICTED WOUNDS: Turnovers, free throws cost Pam Pack on senior night
Published 12:33 am Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Turnovers and missed free throws caught up with Washington in Monday’s 72-62 loss to North Pitt. The Pam Pack had just a handful of 2-for-2 trips to the charity stripe while the Panthers converted on the bulk of their late chances to pull away for the win.
The game was knotted at 44 apiece at the end of the third. The boys had just two wins in the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference heading into their home finale and penultimate game of the regular season. There’s a lot separating Farmville Central, Beddingfield and North Pitt — the conference’s top-three clubs, respectively — from the bottom half of the standings. A win was the only chance Washington had to bump Southwest Edgecombe and move into fourth place before all was said and done.
“Offensively, we were doing OK except for in the fourth. We had more turnovers in the fourth than we did the rest of the game,” Pam Pack coach Steven Flowers said. “All night long, we talked about hitting our free throws and boxing out.
“(With free throws), they’re giving you points. They’re stopping the clock for you and giving you points and we don’t take them. It’s frustrating.”
The traveling Panthers had built a two-possession lead in the first quarter. While it wasn’t much, Washington was well aware of North Pitt’s ability to take over and pull away. It almost happened when Dequan Hines knocked down a 3-pointer to put the visitors ahead by 11 early in the second.
Instead, the boys took a more methodical approach to their offense. They didn’t slow down because it’s not in their nature. They moved the ball up the court quickly, but didn’t force plays. They were patient in waiting for the plays to come to them.
“We wanted to make them slow down on their end, too,” Flowers said. “I think it worked for the most part. When we started running, we started getting out of control. We wanted to back it down, slow down, everybody relax and play.”
Washington pulled within four points by halftime. The momentum the boys built up in the second quarter carried over and helped produce a quick 6-0 run to begin the second half. Sharwan Staton highlighted it when he stole an inbound pass and converted it to a layup at the other end to tie the game at 25-25.
The two sides continued to joust throughout the third period. Tykarrius Floyd tied the game at 30 apiece with a triple. Later on, Shaiquan Moore made a pair of free throws to give the Pam Pack a 42-41 lead. The Panthers reclaimed the lead shortly thereafter, but Clinton Pope made a layup in transition before the end of the quarter to knot the game at 44-44.
Then Washington appeared to suddenly abandon the calculated offensive approach that proved so fruitful. North Pitt had its decisive lead before long. Just like he did in the first, Hines hit a shot from beyond the arc to give the Panthers a double-figure lead.
“We got out of control. I had to call timeouts to get everybody settled down,” Flowers said. “It’s hard because of who they are. That’s their personality. They want to get out and run. But when we’re not taking care of the basketball, what’s our choice?”
Javon Hagins would bring Washington as close as five points before North Pitt’s late free throws produced its 10-point margin of victory.
Washington moves on to wrap up the season at North Johnston on Friday. These Panthers have yet to win a conference game this season, but Flowers knows not to underestimate a team that has nothing to lose.
“They’re going to give us everything they’ve got,” he said.