02/19/13 — Saints march on in ECC 3-A girls' tournament

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Saints march on in ECC 3-A girls' tournament

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on February 19, 2013 1:47 PM

DUDLEY -- Southern Wayne let a big lead get away, but recovered just in time to save a victory.

The Saints used a 9-0 run midway through the fourth quarter and defeated Cleveland 48-38 in the opening round of the Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference girls' basketball tournament Monday evening.

Southern Wayne (13-10 overall) travels to regular-season champion and state-ranked Eastern Wayne on Wednesday. Tip-off is 6 p.m.

"Our girls wanted another chance to play Eastern Wayne," Southern Wayne head coach Ricky Lofton said. "We played them close the first time and then the second game kind of got away from us."

The Saints appeared to be in control in the first half against the Rams.

Freshman guard Zaria Atkins scored seven points as Southern Wayne opened up a 15-4 lead after one quarter and kept the 11-point advantage at halftime.

Trailing 26-15 at the half, the Rams stormed back into contention.

Cleveland guard Miranda Hinton hit back-to-back 3-pointers and ignited a 13-2 run that tied the game at 32-32 in the final minute of the third period.

"We started taking some bad shots," Lofton said. "We built a big lead and then we stopped doing the things that got us the lead."

Atkins hit a corner 3-pointer and the Saints regrouped. Atkins finished with 19 points, while Sharrone Maultsby and Keejah Wilson each added seven points.

"I was pleased that we never lost our composure," Lofton said. "Even when we lost the lead, I was pleased that we stayed calm and made plays to get the lead back."

Miranda Hinton scored 17 points for Cleveland, which ended the season 12-13 overall.