Leesville Road is getting used to withstanding the other team’s best punch in these boys basketball playoffs.
On Tuesday, in the fourth round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A playoffs, the Pride followed the same theme that got it through the first three rounds: get an early lead, weather the comeback attempt, then show resolve and win.
With a 61-54 win at Seventy-First High in Fayetteville, Leesville earned a return trip to the city on Saturday for the 4A East final at an unspecificed time and venue (either Fayetteville State or Methodist University).
“We handled the pressure and controlled the pace,” Leesville coach Russ Frazier said. “We’ve answered the bell, but the other thing is too you have to just focus on your opponent and keep it going.
Leesville led 32-26 at halftime, but Seventy-First ruled the third quarter, briefly taking its first lead of the game with 33 seconds left in the period. Alex Hunter answered with a buzzer-beating jumper to give Leesville a 43-42 lead.
The Falcons took the lead again to start the fourth on J’Mon Raeford’s floater, but Hunter answered again. His 3 put Leesville up for good, 46-44.
Hunter had 16 points while senior classmate Jonathan Mebane had 17. D.J. Horne had 14.
Seventy-First’s Xzavier Howard and Raeford each had 16 points.