LUMBERTON — Brackets for the 31st annual Robeson County Shootout were released at a Thursday morning luncheon held in O.P. Owens Auditorium.
The boys and girls basketball teams of Dillon (S.C.), Fairmont, Lumberton, Purnell Swett, Red Springs, Richmond, St. Pauls and South Robeson will all begin play next Wednesday, Dec. 14, at their respective sites. The games start at 6 p.m.
In the first round, both Richmond teams will take on St. Pauls on the Bulldogs’ home court.
Girls head coach Rosalind McDonald spoke on behalf of the team at the luncheon and was accompanied by senior Zelda McLaughlin — who is averaging 16.5 points after the first two games.
After back-to-back losses, the Lady Raiders are looking to turn things around at Cheraw (S.C.) — who they beat by 30 points last season — this weekend before preparing for next week’s Shootout.
In the tournament, the girls team will look to redeem itself after an early exit last season. The Lady Raiders fell to Dillon in the opening round and then to Fairmont in the consolation bracket.
Head coach David Laton, assistant coach Donald Pettigrew and seniors Devonta McNair and C.J. McDaniel — who was named to the all-tournament team last year — represented the boys team at the event.
“I’m looking forward to playing Cheraw on Saturday night…and then we’ll get to the tournament next week,” Laton said. “We just want to play as hard as we possibly can and keep getting better day by day and week by week.”
Two years ago, the Raiders were able to grab their first-ever Shootout title with the help of Lavell Ellerbe, who was named tournament MVP after the 74-62 victory over Lumberton in the championship game.
Last year, Richmond lost a 90-85 decision to Dillon in the first round of the tournament and had to continue play in the loser’s bracket. It would go to defeat Purnell Swett and Red Springs for a fifth-place finish.
“I always say, in any tournament, the first game is the most important one,” Laton said. “They (St. Pauls) have a new coach and some good players back. But no matter where we play, we’re going to try and play our game.”
Here’s a list of the matchups in the 31st annual Robeson County Shootout. All games scheduled for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday include both boys and girls teams:
WEDNESDAY, DEC. 14:
Richmond Senior at St. Pauls
Dillon (S.C.) at Lumberton
Red Springs at Purnell Swett
South Robeson at Fairmont
THURSDAY, DEC. 15
Loser of Richmond-St. Pauls vs. Loser of Dillon-Lumberton (at St. Pauls)
Loser of Red Spring-Purnell Swett vs. Loser of South Robeson-Fairmont (at Purnell Swett)
FRIDAY, DEC. 16
Winner of Richmond-St. Pauls vs. Winner of Dillon-Lumberton (at Lumberton)
Winner of Red Spring-Purnell Swett vs. Winner of South Robeson-Fairmont (at Fairmont)
SATURDAY, DEC 17
Girls fifth-place contest (10 a.m.)
Boys fifth-place contest (noon)
Girls third-place contest (2 p.m.)
Boys third-place contest (4 p.m.)
Girls championship game (6 p.m.)
Boys championship game (8 p.m)
Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. at 910-817-2673 and follow the sports section on Twitter @RCDailySports.