The next game to take place will be the waiting one.
Pine Lake Prep boys basketball team will now be biding its time before being informed of its next on-court appearance that is all but practically assured of taking place.
The Pride saw to that matter personally.
Pine Lake posted a sixth and final sweep of a home-and-home season series against a PAC-Conference foe to guarantee itself no worse than a two-way share of the circuit’s regular-season championship crown.
The Pride turned on the faucet serving to pour out the points in particularly over the course of second-half play with a 70-46 triumph over Carolina International School two nights before also making the trip to take on the Comets and running off with a 63-44 victory to show for its presence.
As a result, the Pride polished off a near-as-perfect performance in the PAC-7 ranks as possible without actually doing so to fashion a 13-1 record accounting for both their overall and in-circuit standards that continue to walk side-by-side during a regular-schedule shortened to a maximum of 14 games due to COVID-19.
Doing its particular part in the process, Pine Lake earned itself at least a share of this season’s league title and will now await word on several fronts regarding its possible postseason position. The Pride must first wait out the last of the scheduled regular-season games to take place in the PAC-7 before also sitting patiently with bated breath upon being notified of its playoff status once that phase of the season is finalized.
The N.C. High School Athletic Association is expected to finalize brackets for each of the state’s four classifications in both its girls and boys play by the close of the weekend. By most expectations, Pine Lake’s Pride is predicted to be the area’s only boys team representative in any the statewide class’ postseason pools.
PLP did its level best to make sure that is the case.
Against Carolina International that drew the home segment of the season’s regulation schedule to a close, the Pride erupted out of the halftime locker room to pull free and clear from a mere 29-26 halftime lead to put the issue to rest. The Pride cornered favorable cushions of 13 and eight points during the third and fourth quarters to account for the final winning margin in the 70-46 romp.
In the effort, Cole Callaway collected 20 points to captain a crew of as many as four teammates – one shy of a full starting line-up – in the double-digit scoring department. Callaway also cradled 11 rebounds to account for one of the winning team’s trio of personal double-doubles turned in during the contest.
Court cohort Jack Baldwin aligned his team second-best total of 16 points alongside his 10 boards to also fashion a double-double feat. The duo of J.T. Harper and Patrick Schwaba each netted 14 points, with Harper also spicing his state sheet with the clearing of a club-best 15 caroms. Schwaba swished a trio of 3-point shots to help him reach his scoring total.
Later in the second meeting within a three-night span between the same two teams, and despite the presence of questionable weather conditions related to a winter storm system, Pine Lake shot ahead early and cruised to the 63-44 decision completing the sweep.
The Pride raced out to a 25-7 command in the first period alone and padded its cushion over the course of the following two quarters to cruise to the outcome.
No additional individual information was available.
Pine Lake will take no worse than a share of the PAC-7 Conference regular season title into postseason play that is scheduled for first-round play to take place on the court of higher-seeded entries no later than Tuesday night. The Pride is expecting to learn of its seeding status when the NCHSAA releases final playoff brackets by late Sunday.