WENDELL — In differing ways, the Corinth Holders basketball teams discovered patience is a virtue.
The Pirates boys discovered by being a little more patient on defense, good things would happen. They rallied from a nine-point first-half deficit in picking up their first win of the season Tuesday, defeating visiting Farmville Central, 52-50.
Corinth Holders’ girls had to demonstrate patience in weathering a ferocious second-half, full-court press to turn back the Jaguars, 66-58, for their third consecutive win to move to 4-3.
Pirates jell for first win
The Pirates (1-8) finally put together the game coach Chris Davis has been waiting for since the start of the season, combining solid defense with an aggressive offensive attack in topping the Jaguars.
Trailing 31-22 with less than two minutes to play in the first half, the Pirates began making their move with a 6-0 run to close the period behind a pair of Dymond Walker baskets and one from Kalen Cooper.
Baskets from Cooper, Alan Forest and Walker gave the Pirates their first lead of the night, 32-31 on consecutive baskets to open the second half.
Neither team owned more than a four-point lead the rest of the night. That lead was held by the Jaguars with 2:15 left in regulation after Ikeesta Johnson drove for a layup and a 48-44 Farmville lead.
Johnson led the Jaguars with 15 points, while Shaft Parker added 10.
But after Johnson’s bucket built the lead to four, Walker and Ki-Yon Walden took over the game on the offensive end for the Pirates.
Walden hit a fall-away shot in the lane, drawing a foul for a three-point play with two minutes left to pull Corinth Holders within 48-47.
Following a miss by the Jaguars, Walker grabbed the rebound and pushed the ball up the floor, laying the ball through the hoop for a 49-48 Pirates lead.
Walden, who spent the middle portion of the game on the bench because of foul trouble, hit another follow shot, giving the Pirates the lead for keeps at 51-48.
“I was really pleased with the offense swinging the ball around,” Davis said. “And we can always get better as the season goes along.”
Walden finished with only seven points, but five of those came at the right time.
“Ki-Yon will usually score 12-14 points on any given night,” Davis said. “He was upset with himself but came through for us.”
Johnson hit a soft jumper from the left baseline to trim the margin to 51-50 with 45 seconds to play, and the Jaguars employed a full court press to try and force a Pirates turnover.
But the Pirates managed to get the ball over the end line and call a timeout. On the ensuing throw-in, Davis was forced to spend another timeout to avoid a 10-second violation.
The third attempt to get the ball past the timeline was successful, resulting in Walker hitting the front end of a one-and-bonus to seal the outcome.
Walker and Cooper scored 15 points each, while Butler Collins, who kept the Pirates in the game with 10 first-quarter points, finished with 11.
“We played really hard consistently,” Davis said. “We didn’t play in spurts; we played consistently hard all the time tonight.
“We’ve had some growing pains, but this was what I’ve been hoping to see. Hopefully, this will be the bump and the kick that will get us there.”
Girls outlast scrappy Jaguars
Just when it looked as if Corinth Holders’ girls would have an easy time, the Jaguars turned up the pressure – trapping, scrambling full-court pressure that gave the Pirates fits throughout the second half.
Farmville actually launched the press as a last-ditch effort to stem the Pirates’ offense in the closing minutes of the first half, after Corinth Holders had gone on a 12-3 run to take control of the game, 24-14.
Those final three minutes produced four Pirates turnovers, and set the tone for the remainder of the game.
“It was almost too much for us,” said Pirates coach Brandy Smith. “But we were able to keep our composure. We started seeing if we were able to keep our composure and look up, we could see that we had open opportunities to get the ball up the floor.”
But after claiming 14-point lead at 33-19, those opportunities began to get fewer and fewer for the Pirates as Farmville clawed its way back into the game.
Behind the one-two punch of Destiny Foskey and Dy Pender, Farmville slowly inched back, closing within 56-55 with 1:55 left in regulation.
Foskey, hitting from everywhere on the floor, led the Jaguars with 26 points, bombing in 3-pointers as well as driving for layups and hitting from the perimeter.
However, the Pirates’ Khajidah Neal, Cyarra Pierson and Maddy Glidewell neutralized that effort.
Whenever the Pirates needed a basket down the stretch, Neal, who led all scorers with 27 points, 18 in the second half, matched Foskey score for score.
Pierson, who chipped in seven points, more than held her own on the boards with 17 rebounds, while Glidewell directed the action on the floor for the Pirates, popping in 16 points. Holly Price also gave the Pirates 11 points.
Glidewell, Neal and Price and Samara Gibson shared the scoring load in the second period as the Pirates moved from a 12-9 lead to a 24-14 cushion.
But the biggest difference in the half was on the boards, with Pierson, Glidewell and Neal helping the Pirates to a 21-9 advantage.
While Corinth Holders struggled to handle the press in the fourth quarter, the Jaguars chipped steadily away behind Foskey, eventually drawing within 56-55 on a lay-in by Dajura Rogers.
Neal rallied the Pirates with a pair of buckets and a pair of free throws, pushing the margin to 62-57, while Farmville began having trouble getting the ball up the floor.
Glidewell added a pair of free throws and Gibson a bucket as the Pirates pulled away down the stretch.