The North Carolina High School Athletic Association released the brackets for the 2023-2024 basketball playoffs.…
With her basket at the 8:02 mark of the first quarter, Blaikley Crooks, a Freedom High School grad, became the 25th player in program history to surpass the 1,000 point mark. Crooks would score 24 points to lead the Bears to a 67-59 road win over Newberry on Wednesday night to extend their winning streak to four straight.
Crooks hit a pair of free throws to open the scoring and move to 999 career points and a driving layup crossed the 1,000-point mark. Newberry would grab the lead in the middle of the first quarter and go to the break with a 15-12 advantage. Jess Tomkins had six for the Wolves while Crooks answered with six for LR. The Bears went just 4-of-18 in the opening 10 minutes. Newberry maintained the lead for most of the second quarter, leading by as many as six, before a late LR surge. Down 29-26, LR went on an 8-0 run to grab a five point lead. Crooks would score with three seconds left in the half to make it 36-31.
The Bears would go up by as many as 11 in the third quarter but the Wolves wouldn’t go away. Newberry cut the lead to 51-45 at the end of the third quarter. LR came out hot in the fourth quarter and a Mikeba Jones bucket in the paint put LR up 60-45 with 6:11. LR held a double-digit lead until the 1:59 mark but Newberry could get no closer than eight. Crooks had nine points in the fourth quarter as LR went 7-of-11 from the field to earn the win.
Newberry shot just 38.9 percent from the field. This was the sixth time this season an opponent has shot below 40 percent against LR. The Wolves also went just 6-of-22 from deep. The 27.3 percent mark makes Newberry the 10th team to shoot less than 28 percent from three against the Bears. Crooks’ 24 points are one shy of her season high total of 25 against Lander on November 12. Crooks was a +19 while on the court tonight and Maleiya Hill was +17.
Crooks entered the game needing just three points to top 1,000 career points and scored the first four points of the game for LR. Crooks’ teammate Emily Harman moved nine points shy of 1,300 career points. She will be just the 11th player to reach that mark in program history.
The Bears snapped a four-game losing streak at Newberry. Prior to this game, the home team had won 10 straight games in this series.
Lenoir-Rhyne improves to 11-4 overall, 6-1 in the South Atlantic Conference. The Bears will welcome the Carson-Newman Eagles to the Shu on Saturday afternoon with a 2 p.m. contest.