RALEIGH — The type of game Wakefield played Friday night wasn't what guard Jabriel Rahman expected. Rahman didn't see much of the court in the first half. Two personal fouls put him on the bench.
When the buzzer sounded to conclude the third quarter, Rahman looked at the scoreboard and shook his head. Rahman and his coach, Dexter Cooley, watched Leesville Road erase a 17-point deficit in 16 minutes.
Rahman, a senior, had made a decision when the fourth quarter started - one that didn't really involve Cooley. With his teammates struggling, Rahman led the Wolverines to a closer-than-it-looked 74-61 win over the Pride.
Rahman scored nine of his 14 points in the final quarter, and was instrumental in keeping Leesville Road from taking the lead in the second half.
"He's the kind of player that can take over games," Cooley said of Rahman. "When he plays smart basketball, he can really change the game for us."
Rahman also received help on the defensive end from forward Logan Evans, who finished with a game-high 15 points.
The Wolverines (6-1, 2-1 Cap Eight 4-A) were able to get easy baskets, and the lead, off of two blocks from Evans early in the fourth quarter.
"It's a great feeling when a guy goes up and thinks he's got you beat and then you send the shot back," Evans said. "It's really my job to secure the paint and Coach told me that coming into this year."
Earlier in the game though, Evans had difficulty stopping the Pride from scoring close to the hoop.
Leesville Road (3-4, 1-2) had seven players score in the third quarter to pull even with Wakefield.
Pride guards Shyheim Debnam, who finished with 13 points, and Shyheid Petteway, who added 10 points, created their offense off the dribble.
Cooley made an adjustment to start the fourth quarter. He had his Wolverines play a 2-3 and a 1-3-1 zone to limit the Pride's ability to penetrate to the basket. Leesville Road settled for long jump shots and Debham and Petteway combined for just two points in fourth quarter.
"(The Pride) were shocked and they really didn't know what to do," Rahman said. "They didn't know where their shots were going to come from."
The zone defenses also produced long rebounds that led to Rahman having plenty of fast-break opportunities. Once three minutes had passed in the fourth quarter, the Wolverines had taken control and rebuilt a 12-point advantage.
Before Wakefield took the court to start the fourth quarter, Cooley told his players to believe in their offensive abilities. Evans said Rahman did just that.
"It's great having a guard that sees the floor really well," Evans said. "He creates a lot of shots for other guys and me. It's always good to play with a good guard."