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Eastern Randolph’s Pierce Leonard threads the needle to open teammate Jane Norwood under the basket during ER’s 83-64 third-round playoff victory on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023, in Ramseur. (Eric Abernethy / Randolph Hub)

ER boys win, girls fall in rare playoff twinbill

RAMSEUR — The Eastern Randolph High School varsity basketball teams have had record-setting seasons this year. One continued after Saturday’s third round state playoff encounters with Robbinsville, one didn’t.

The ER boys jumped into a comfortable lead in the first half and were never really tested as the third-seeded Wildcats posted an 83-64 victory over sixth-seeded Robbinsville. 

The win moves ER to 27-2 on the season and into the fourth round for the first time in school history. The Wildcats were scheduled to play South Stokes today for a berth in the regional final.

Eastern Randolph’s Brecken Snotherly breaks through three-fifths of the Robbinsville defense with an eye on the basket on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023, at ERHS. She finished with 23 points.  (Photo: Eric Abernethy / Randolph Hub)

The ER girls fought valiantly from a double-digit deficit, closing to within four points in the final quarter, but 13th-seeded Robbinsville used a big final-quarter spurt for a 60-45 win over the fifth-seeded Wildcats. ER was making its first appearance in the third round of the state tournament since 2007. The Wildcat girls, who started 1-4 this year, finished at 19-8.

The ER boys led 43-29 at halftime and kept the Black Knights safely in the distance for the entire second half.
“These boys have worked extremely hard for what they have earned,” coach Johnny Thomas said. “I don’t think anything was ever given to us. We have had to show people we were capable of coming out and taking it.”

The Wildcats were led by senior Davonte Brooks, who scored 28 points. Sophomore Timothy Brower added 22 points and Julian Brooks had 11.

In the girls game, the Wildcats fell behind by as many as 13 points in the second half before rallying to within 44-40 early in the final period. But the Black Knights (24-5) went on a game-ending 16-5 run to win going away.

“The girls tired and we got worn out,” first-year head coach Jeff Davis said. “They gave me everything they had. They didn’t give up.”

Robbinsville led 18-13 after one quarter, 30-21 at halftime and 44-34 at the end of three quarters. 

Brecken Snotherly closed out a sensational prep career with 23 points. Kenly Whitaker added 10 for ER.

“We wanted to win more games than they did last year (eight), so we got going as soon as we got to go to practice,” said Davis, who didn’t have the luxury of summer workouts with the team because of his late hire. “I just asked them to give us as much hustle as they could every game. We lost 15 games last year and eight this year. That’s improvement.”