CARY — The Cary and Garner boys’ basketball teams met Wednesday in a game that showcased Garner’s athleticism and served as a learning experience for the young Imps.
Garner took control in the second quarter with their fast-paced approach and went on to win 76-49 in a nonconference contest between two of the older schools in Wake County.
The Trojans (3-0) were led by senior guard Demarcus Sanford, who scored 25 points, and sophomore Julius Barnes, who added 15.
Cary fell to 0-3 on the year but has faced tough tests with Sanderson and East Wake before meeting Garner.
The Imps trailed the Trojans 25-20 early in the second period but then Sanford and Barnes got hot offensively and Cary struggled with the Trojan’s pressure tactics.
“Good teams like Garner can expose our weaknesses, which is good preparation that we can learn from,” said Cary head coach Allan Gustafson. “They put such good ball pressure on us, offensively we know we are going to have to do a better job in the half court.”
Garner led 46-26 at halftime. The Trojans have been averaging 82 points per game so far this season.
“We’re a young team but we play a very fast pace and the kids have bought in,” said Garner head coach Eddie Gray. “The one thing we do need to correct is the number of unforced errors we made, but Demarcus is our only returning starter from last season. We lost nine seniors from last year’s team, but so far I’ve seen some pleasant surprises.”
The Trojans are getting contributions from two senior big men who are in their first year of varsity, Jasper Stallings and Foster Duber, who helped control the glass against the Imps.
Cary point guard Cory Gensler, a freshman, led the Imps with 11 points, while junior C.J. Lyon chipped in nine.
Gustafson said one really promising thing Cary learned against Garner is that man-to-man defense may be the way for the Imps to play this year. The Trojans exploited Cary’s zone before intermission, but the Imps fared better in the second half in man-to-man man sets, creating some Garner turnovers and limiting the high-powered Trojan attack to 30 points.
“Tonight’s game was very educational,” Gustafson said. “We want to be impatient with our progress but patient with our results.”