FAYETTEVILLE — ‘Three Days In Bunn’ could be the title of the most nightmarish chapter of the book on Kinston’s 2012-13 girls basketball season.
During an appearance at the Bunn Christmas Tournament, Kinston suffered three of its four losses for the campaign, including a setback against the host Ladycats.
“We looked pretty bad (at the tournament),’’ Kinston coach Hubert Quinerly said. “We paid for it when we got back (to Kinston). We got back in practice and almost killed each other. No team of mine is going to play like that.’’
Kinston hasn’t lost since, and the Lady Vikings got an opportunity to redeem themselves during Friday’s Class 2-A East Regional Semifinals at the Crown Arena.
The Lady Vikings led only once in the first 28 minutes before rallying in the fourth period to secure a 49-45 triumph against Bunn.
Now 24-4 overall, Kinston moved into the state semifinals for the second straight year. The Lady Vikings will play either Jordan-Matthews or Graham today at 6 p.m.
This was the second consecutive season where Bunn was eliminated by Kinston in the playoffs – in the same round and at the same site.
Kinston, paced by Lydia Rivers, clawed back to take the lead at 13-12 early in the second quarter before Bunn re-established control.
Rivers, who had come through with 22 points and 22 rebounds in the clubs’ first meeting, scored Kinston’s first 13 points Friday before teammate Brittany Drumgoole canned a jumper at the 3:55 mark before halftime.
Bunn, however, had the best of the play in the opening half, and went to the break ahead 26-21.
The contest would be tight for the entire second half, with Kinston finally moving ahead at 43-41 on Drumgoole’s two free throws with 3:58 remaining.
Bunn had a chance to tie in the closing seconds, but Furman University signee Whitney Bunn couldn’t convert a potential tying 3-pointer. Drumgoole, who was 5-of-6 from the line down the stretch, sealed the victory with a free throw with just five ticks left.
“Defensively, we got the job done in the second half,’’ Quinerly said. “Once we got the lead, I felt like we were going to be fine. We have some veterans who are three-year starters, and they carried us down the stretch.’’
The Ladycats went over five minutes without scoring a basket in the decisive fourth period.
“We had a tough stretch shooting the ball there,’’ said Bunn coach Benj Daniels. “You have to give credit to Kinston – they earned the win. I just wish a few bounces would have gone our way. But our girls played as hard as they could.’’
Rivers, a sophomore, was the game’s leading scorer with 20 points to go with seven rebounds.
Whitney Bunn, who registered over 1,700 points during her career at BHS, shared team scoring honors with Precious Walker (13 points apiece).