RALEIGH — Cary Academy junior John Guerra did it all Tuesday to help lead the Chargers boys’ basketball team to a thrilling 77-75 win over the Bulldogs in the teams’ Triangle Independent Schools Athletic Conference opener.
Cary Academy led by 14 points early in the fourth but had to withstand a furious rally by Wake Christian, including a clutch three by Faquan Dunn, who led all scorers with 27 points, and a four-point play from Chase Tyler (24 points) in the game’s final minute.
Guerra had 14 points, eight assists and held Dunn to no points in the third quarter to help build the Chargers’ lead.
“I knew we had to shut him (Dunn) down in the third quarter, and our help defense was great when I switched to him,” said Guerra. “I was able to bephysical and put some pressure on. Still, we needed Jared (Sarnoff) to knock down those clutch free throws late in the fourth with their crowd going wild. That was the key to the game in my opinion.”
Sarnoff, coming off of two surgeries to replace the ACL in both knees, led all Chargers with 21 points and knocked down 5-of-6 foul shots late in the contest.
The Bulldogs had one last chance to tie, but Aaron Overton blocked a Dunn shot in the lane and then he missed again with 0.6 seconds left to lift Cary Academy to its second win of the year.
“The third quarter defense allowed us to get that lead and we managed to hold on at the end,” said first-year Cary Academy head coach Mindaugas Timinskas. “I’m glad we came through because it would have been hard to lose a game like that. We’re definitely going to learn and build from it.”
Timinskas was also pleased with senior Cannon Duke’s inside presence. Duke altered Bulldog shots and controlled the glass (12 rebounds), along with scoring 20 points.
The Chargers girls also won, and it was not a nailbiter like the boys’ game
Cary Academy dominated from the start, cruising to a 72-18 victory behind senior Mickayla Sanders’ 30 points and a stifling defense that forced countless Bulldog turnovers and seemed to pressure every shot attempt.
The Chargers (2-0) led 43-12 at halftime and then allowed just one field goal after that to a Wake Christian team that had won four of the past six N.C. Christian School Association state championships before moving to the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association this year.
“We’ve been working hard in practice and tonight we came out and just played as a team,” Sanders said.
The Chargers were also paced by Victoria Powell (16) and Rebecca Banks (10), along with Brittany Powell (11 assists).
“We try to start with our defensive effort and then to have a player like Mickayla to get the ball to doesn’t hurt either,” said Cary Academy first-year head coach Mike Zeillmann. “The girls came back from Thanksgiving Break looking sharp, we just need to keep working more on our ball movement as the season goes along.”