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Tigers top Patriots to advance

Stephanie King

Semifinal Saturday at the boys’ Courier-Tribune Christmas Invitational kicked off with the Providence Grove Patriots taking on the Randleman Tigers. The Patriots took down a tough a Trinity team in round one, while Randleman advanced with a strong win over Eastern Randolph.

It was a low scoring first quarter with strong defenses as the Patriots took charge early. Questin Overman opened the game with a jumper before Luke Thomas scored on a fastbreak. Randleman’s first points of the night came on a putback bucket from Robby Rich at the 2:40 mark. Cam Way found Jonathan Foust on back to back possessions for buckets to put the Patriots in front 8-2. Tyler Nahill went two for three at the line for the Tigers before Na’hiem Lilly followed his own miss and scored to cut the lead to two by the end of the quarter. After one complete quarter, Providence Grove led 8-6.

The Patriots pushed their lead to five with a three from Michael Fee at the start of the second, but Randleman answered with a putback bucket from Dominick Poole and a pair of free throws from Kaleb Mitchell. Foust continued to have the hot hand for the Patriots scoring on back to back possessions giving them a 15-10 lead. Nate Cassidy pulled the Tigers with two after a three from the left quarter, but Thomas answered on the other end with a contested three to extend the lead back out. Randleman’s defense stepped it up a notch, holding the Patriots scoreless for the remainder of the quarter. The Tigers closed the quarter on a 13-0 run that started with a three from Mitchell. By the end of the second quarter, the Tigers had battled back to take a 26-18 halftime lead.

Providence Grove cut the lead to seven on a free-throw from Jadon Griffith at the start of the third quarter, but the Tigers answered with a 7-0 run to push their lead into double figures. Cassidy got the run started with a three-point play before Lilly and Nate Green scored on back to back possessions. Griffith ended the run with a three from the corner for the Patriots and cut the lead to eleven. Randleman extended the lead to thirteen before Providence Grove scored five straight points to cut the lead to single digits. Randleman outscored the Patriots 6-2 to close out the quarter including a three at the buzzer from Mitchell for a 41-29 lead.

Way trimmed the lead to ten with a bucket at the start of the fourth for the Patriots. Poole drained a three for the Tigers before he and Lilly scored on back to back steals. Way drove his way to the hoop and scored cutting the lead to fifteen for the Patriots. Just after the bucket from Way, the Patriots’ bench was called for a technical foul sending Cassidy to the line. He knocked down one of two at the line for the Tigers. Griffith picked up his second three of the half to cut the lead to thirteen for the Patriots. Rich and Poole combined to got four for four at the line giving the Tigers a 53-36 lead.

Fee drove strong to the hoop and scored before Connor Lineberry did the same on the other end for the Tigers. Foust picked up three points the old-fashioned cutting the lead to fourteen. Cassidy drilled a three from the left wing to push the Tigers’ lead to 58-41. The Tigers outscored the Patriots 4-2 to close out the game and pick up a 62-43 win. Randleman will advance to Monday’s championship game where they will face either the Southwestern Randolph Cougars or the Wheatmore Warriors.

Dominick Poole led the Tigers with 15 points, while Nate Cassidy finished with 14. Na’hiem Lilly added 11 for the Tigers and Robby Rich chipped in six. For the Patriots, Jonathan Foust led the way with 15 points. Michael Fee finished the night with eight points, while Jadon Griffith notched seven for the Patriots.

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