Jackets take two tough road losses

Jan. 12—A heartbreaking evening for Lee County basketball fans only got worse as things moved along Wednesday night in Southern Pines.

The teams were playing one day later than planned, due to bad weather that hit the area the day before and led to the postponement of various after-school events. But the games were made up one day later, and things began with a nip-and-tuck barnburner between the Lady Jackets and the host Pinecrest Patriots. The teams played to a draw in regulation, but Pinecrest outscored Lee 11-5 in the overtime session and pulled out a 59-53 victory.

The men's game was more of the same. Lee, still looking for a signature win on the road, instead got another near-miss. The Yellow Jackets, who trailed 10-0 early on, battled back and seemed to have taken control of the game early in the second half, when they finally surged in front. Lee led by eight on three separate occasions and was up 58-52 midway through the fourth quarter, but then the game ended the same way it started. Another 10-0 Pinecrest run bookended the game and handed the Patriots a 62-58 victory.

The Lee men (5-8, 1-2 Sandhills Athletic Conference) missed out on another chance for a big victory away from home. The Jackets let games at R.J. Reynolds, Western Alamance, and Apex Friendship either slip away in the fourth quarter or in overtime before Wednesday's setback.

The Jackets continue to get high-powered performances from three of their players, however. Kamaree Butler led Lee with 24 points. Nic Farrow had 21 points and five steals, and both players are sophomores who are only getting better. Junior Ronnie Hooker had nine points, 10 rebounds and six blocked shots. However, Lee had just four points from the rest of the roster.

The Jackets will have a difficult challenge in their next game, when Lee travels to Richmond, the SAC leader and the fourth-ranked team in the 4A East. Both the Raiders and Lady Raiders (ranked sixth) are undefeated in Sandhills play and neither has been challenged by a conference foe.