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Pirates advance to Class 1A Sectionals

Posted on Friday, March 8, 2024 at 1:30 am




The South Pittsburg Pirates boys’ basketball team did something last Tuesday evening that hadn’t been done in 38 years. With a 67-60 win over Sale Creek in the second round of the Region 3A Tournament, the Pirates advanced to the Region Championship Game.

The last time that a Pirates basketball team made it that far in the tournament was back during the 1985-1986 season. It was their first appearance, making last Tuesday only the second time in program history.

The Pirates started the night with an 18-point first quarter to the Cougars’ 11. RaCash Kelly, Jamarion Farrior, and Sam Pratt were all strong from the field, making a combined six buckets, while Kerione Robinson was perfect at the line and Cavin Gilley sank two of his four attempts.

The Cougars managed to cut the deficit to four at the half by outscoring the Pirates 14 to 11. But South Pittsburg managed to stay ahead, thanks to Kelly, who had 19 total second-half points.

In the second quarter alone, Kelly drained three three-pointers for nine, then followed it up by scoring three field goals and going 4-for-8 at the foul line in the fourth. He would score a season-high total of 31 and lead the Pirates in scoring for the evening.

But the Cougars still managed to outscore the Pirates by one in the third to cut the lead to just three points going into the final frame.

Besides Kelly’s 10, Gilley scored another five in the fourth, giving him 10 total. Pratt scored an additional six from free throws, finishing with 14.

The win over Sale Creek gave the Pirates a clean sweep over their opponent for the season, beating them in their last two meetings. The Pirates then went on to face Chattanooga Prep in the finals for the region title. However, they lost, 80-54, but still placed in the Class 1A East Sectionals as the region runner-up. They faced Gordonsville on March 4. That game ended with Gordonsville topping the Pirates 59-45. The recap for that game will be available in next week’s edition of the Marion Tribune.

Lady Pirates recap

The Lady Pirates’ season, unfortunately, came to an end last Monday, Feb. 26, with a loss to Copper Basin 59-32 in the second round of the Region 3A Tournament.

It was a slow start for the Lady Pirates, who were only able to account for two points in the first quarter, thanks to Karma Summers. But that put them in a massive 13-2 hole early.

Three Lady Pirates got in on the action in the second quarter to score 11. Mallorie Meeks hit one from the field, plus both of her free throws, Kelstin Burnette scored two, and Jaydra Gentry hit a three-pointer plus her two at the foul line. But the deficit was still large, as the Lady Cougars took a 31-13 lead at the half after scoring another 18.

Having their best quarter of the night, the Lady Pirates scored 12 in the third to the Lady Cougars’ 14. Savannah Curtis and Summers both hit three-pointers, Burnette scored another four from the field, and Arri Robinson went 2-for-2 at the charity stripe.

To finish the evening and their season, Gentry would score another two points, making her the leading scorer for the Lady Pirates with seven. Meeks would add another two, and Macy Mashburn would make the fourth three-pointer of the evening for the Lady Pirates.

“I’m very proud of this team,” Lady Pirates head coach Beth Webb said. “This is a great group of young ladies and we have a bright future. I think next year will be even better.”

The Lady Pirates finished the season 13-12. Monday’s loss was the second to Copper Basin this season, with their last back on Dec. 15, 60-46.

Photo courtesy of Misty Rollins Thomas

The Marion Tribune – March 7, 2024