The Corinth Holders girls basketball team completed a five-year climb to the top of the conference Thursday night.
The Pirates, whose first year as a team was in 2010 when the school opened its doors, defeated Erwin Triton 73-66 to claim the Two Rivers 3A Conference championship and the league’s No. 1 seed for the conference tournament and playoffs.
Corinth Holders (17-6, 8-2 Two Rivers) shared the regular-season title with Cleveland (also 8-2 in the league), but earned the No. 1 seed with a sweep of its two games with Cleveland.
“I’ve been telling them, ‘You girls have made history by doing this,’ ” Corinth Holders coach Brandy Smith said. “They deserved it. They worked hard.
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“It’s a good feeling coming from where we started (five years ago) to where we are now. Having been here all five years, it’s a good feeling.”
Corinth Holders was up by five points (67-62) with a minute left after a bucket by Gaulden. Triton got a pair of free throws to cut the margin to 67-64. From that point, all of the Pirates’ point came from Clark at the line.
Clark made six of eight free throws in the final 47 seconds to seal the victory, including three of four at the line in the final 15 seconds.
Junior Maddy Gladwell had 19 points and senior Khadijah Neal added 17 for Corinth Holders.
“We are going to do whatever we can to continue (to play well),” Smith said, “and push as hard as we can to go as far as we can (in the playoffs).”
And the Pirates will do it as champions. After a five-year climb to the top.
Cleveland 69, Western Harnett 53: So will the Rams, who earned their share of the Two Rivers 3A title with a come-from-behind win over the Eagles. Cleveland scored just four first-quarter points but came back with a 20-point second quarter to take a halftime lead.
The Rams finished the contest with a 24-point output in the fourth quarter.
Myrayna Watkins (17), Amber Scott (16) and Alliyah Sands (12) all scored a dozen or more points for the Rams who won their school girls record 19th game of the season.
D. Clay Best contributed.