RALEIGH — Leesville Road used a huge fourth-quarter effort to turn an 11-point deficit into a win at the buzzer Friday, topping Millbrook 57-56.
Leesville, ranked No. 13 by The News & Observer among area teams, outscored the Wildcats 24-11 in the final five minutes, and Pride senior Shyheid Petteway hit a baseline floater as time expired for the win.
“I knew it was going in. I had faith,” Petteway said. “I had missed all those free throws, so I knew I had to make that shot.”
Petteway had shot 1-7 from the foul line, including 1-4 in the final period, but his buzzer beater gave Leesville the win and capped his team-high 11-point effort for the Pride.
No. 10 Millbrook took control early on, using a 16-6 run to take a 16-11 lead after one quarter and extending its lead heading into the half.
“Coach (Russ Frazier) told us we need to bring more energy,” Petteway said of Leesville’s halftime talk. “I think we proved ourselves to each other tonight.”
Leesville chipped away at host Millbrook, pulling within five points with just more than two minutes to play.
Pride senior Lemont Martin-White propelled his team, scoring all ten of his points in the fourth quarter, and shooter Sanders Rohs hit two big 3-pointers for Leesville in the final frame.
Frazier said his team responded perfectly in the second half after struggling to make baskets in the first.
When the two teams met last month, Leesville fell short, 52-50, at home.
“We knew it could be (another close one),” Millbrook coach Scott McInnes said. “But when we jumped out on them, we didn’t think it would be. … We didn’t hit free throws down the stretch and didn’t take care of the ball.”
Millbrook shot 9-21 from the line in the second half.
The loss was just Millbrook’s second of the conference season, delivering what could have been a blow to the Wildcats’ first-place standing in the Cap Eight.
However, fellow conference leader Broughton also lost Friday in a 40-38 decision to Heritage, keeping the two teams tied for first in the Cap Eight with two losses each.
“I’ve got my focus totally on Millbrook,” McInnes said of Broughton’s loss. “It doesn’t matter what position we go into the playoffs in, every team is going to be decent and everyone is going to give you their best shot. If we don’t come out better than we did in the second half here, our playoff run will be cut short.”
Cameron Sykes led Millbrook with 13 points.