Tigers top Patriots to advance

Stephanie King

It was a rematch of Friday’s regular season finale as the Randleman Tigers hosted the Providence Grove Patriots in the first round of the PAC-6 Conference Tournament on Monday. The Tigers finished out the regular season at 5-5 in conference play and 13-9 overall. The 5-5 in PAC-6 play was good enough for a third-place finish for the Tigers. The Patriots finished their regular season at 0-10 in conference play and 9-14 overall on the season.

Randleman was the first on the board as Zack Bailey drilled a three from the top of the key. Moments later Cyle Cassidy scored in the paint to put the Tigers ahead 5-0. Providence Grove would find their shot with a bucket from Brandon Carter and then tie things at 5 with a three from Micah Griffith. The Tigers would take the lead off an and-one from Bailey, but the lead went right back to the Patriots after another bucket from Carter. Providence Grove tacked on six more points, including a three from Tyler Hutto, for a 12-8 lead over the Tigers. Randleman used another 5-0 run to take a one point lead, but Hutto knocked down a jumper to put the Patriots on top 14-13 after the first quarter.

Providence Grove pushed their lead to three during the opening minute of the second, but the Tigers picked up scoring from Cassidy and Tanner McGee to tie things at 16 all. Bailey drained his second three to put the Tigers on top 19-16. The Patriots responded with an 11-0 run, including back to back threes from Griffith and Hutto, to take a 27-19 lead over the Tigers. After a couple of empty trips up the floor, the Tigers scored to cut the lead to six, but a three from PG’s Connor Smith extended the lead to nine. McGee had a spurt where he scored five unanswered to pull the Tigers within four. Carter extended the Patriots lead to six, but Collin Hayes scored down low just before the half. At the half, Providence Grove led 32-28.

The Tigers opened the third quarter with back to back buckets from McGee and Cassidy to tie this one at 32 all. These two teams knocked down three straight threes with the Patriots draining two of them for a 38-35 lead. From that moment on the Tigers took over using a 9-0 run, capped off by a three from Hayes for a 44-38 lead. Providence Grove battled back with six straight free throws from Kobe Morgan to tie this one at 44 all. A three from Hayes and a three points the old fashion way from McGee put the Tigers on top 50-44 moments later. Carter scored to pull the Patriots within four, but Cassidy drained a three to extend the Tigers’ lead out to seven. After three quarters of play, the Tigers led 53-46.

Connor Smith scored for the Patriots to pull then within five during the opening minute of the fourth quarter and that would be as close as they could get the rest of the quarter. Bailey knocked down a three and Cassidy laid one in to give the Tigers their first double digit lead of the night. Carter would score five unanswered to pull the Patriots back within five. Providence Grove picked up a couple of buckets here and there, but it was all Randleman during the fourth quarter. McGee scored nine points in the quarter for the Tigers as they pulled out a 74-62 win over the Patriots.

Randleman will advance to the semifinals of the Pac-6 Tournament on Tuesday and will face the number two seeded Wheatmore Warriors. Tanner McGee led the Tigers with 23 points, while Zac Bailey finished with 18. Cyle Cassidy added 15 and Collin Hayes chipped in 10. For the Patriots, it was Brandon Carter leading the way with 15 points, while Kobe Morgan finished with 11 and Connor Smith notched 10.

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