Smithfield-Selma girls basketball coach William Sanders had a sneaking suspicion about his team’s 54-45 loss at Western Harnett on Friday night before it even began.
“I saw them during warmups and it was like a 3-point shooting drill,” Sanders said of Western. “I think four out of the starting five were just back there shooting 3s the whole time during warmups. I knew right then what kind of a night we were going to have.”
With the Spartans leading 35-33 early in the fourth quarter, Western Harnett’s Meridith Randolph connected on three consecutive 3-pointers to put the Eagles back in front for good. Western Harnett made good on seven 3-pointers in all and was complemented by a 17-for-29 effort from the foul line in grabbing their first win of the season.
“They got it going. And I told them in the timeout (just prior to Randolph’s rally) that if they hit their first 3 it’s going to get them fired up and that’s exactly what happened,” Sanders said.
The Eagles outscored the Spartans 21-10 thereafter to close out the first meeting between the Two Rivers 3A Conference foes. In a statistical oddity, Western Harnett scored just 11 points in the first and third quarters combined but poured in 43 points in the second and fourth quarters.
“We were trying to get people open, especially for 3s,” Sanders said. “We’ve got people that can shoot them. They played good defense against us which I expected but we’ve got to fight through it.”
In a prelude, Smithfield-Selma’s Dannya Tavarez hit a buzzer-beating jumper at the end of the first quarter.
Smithfield-Selma dropped to 1-12 on the season and 0-2 in the conference while Western Harnett improved to 1-11 overall and 1-1 in conference play.