Clayton teams win, advance

jgreen@newsobserver.comFebruary 21, 2012 

— Clayton's boys and Wakefield's girls advanced to the second round of the Class 4-A state basketball playoffs with lopsided victories Monday night at Clayton High.

The Comets' boys team (20-6 overall) trailed 21-18 at halftime but used a 19-4 run over the final 5 minutes, 34 seconds of the third quarter for a 73-52 triumph over Athens Drive (13-12).

Dylan Haupt's 10 first-half points gave the Jaguars the lead, but Clayton turned up the pressure defensively in the third.

"The guys aren't ready for the season to be over yet," said CHS coach Denny Medlin. "They played with intensity in the second half and we hit some big shots to get us the big lead."

Haupt's free throw gave Athens a 26-25 lead, but Anthony Gaskins (eight points) and Gary Clark (five) sparked the Comets' rally to put Clayton ahead 44-33 entering the fourth.

Clayton's Kyle Bryant made four 3-pointers in the final period off assists from Clark, Gaskins and Rodney Moore, to put the home team in command at 58-42.

Athens never got closer than 13 points in the final 4:42.

Clark led Clayton with 23 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks. Bryant added 16, Gaskins 15 and Adonis Banks 12.

Haupt paced the Jags with 17 points and Jason West added 11.

Wakefield's girls made sure there would be no Clayton sweep by winning 70-58.

The Wolverines raced to a 19-7 lead in the first quarter behind Lauren Hudson and MaKayla Williams, but Clayton - behind 10 points from Tajah Clark in the second - cut the deficit to 38-29 at halftime.

Jasmine Dixon, Vernessa Hinnant and Latesha Williams scored during a 7-0 run that brought the Comets within four at 50-47, but Wakefield scored seven straight points over the final 1:39 to regain momentum.

"We shot the ball a little better than we had been," said Wakefield coach Art Wollett, whose team is 19-7. "We hadn't shot well all year but we did tonight. I think Clayton had trouble adjusting to us defensively early."

Madison Lenox's 21 points led the Wolverines.

Hinnant and Tajah Clark led Clayton with 19 points each.

Green: 919-553-7234

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