RALEIGH — Less than a month into the season, many high school basketball teams are still forming their identities, and after his team’s 65-60 loss at Southeast Raleigh on Tuesday night, Wake Forest-Rolesville coach Mickey Bissette admitted that’s still the case for his team.
The Cougars return just six players from last year’s team, and the majority of those players received little playing time.
“We’re trying to get a rotation at this point,” he said. “I’ve got four sophomores and a freshman on varsity, so it’s going to take some time.”
Southeast grabbed control of the game early, taking advantage of a 13-4 run in the middle of the first quarter to put Wake Forest-Rolesville in a hole they struggled to overcome the rest of the way.
“It seemed like we were fighting an uphill battle all night long,” Bissette said. “We would cut it back a little bit, something would happen a bad play here, a bad play there and we were back down seven or eight points.”
Wake Forest did manage to take the lead briefly in the second quarter, but Southeast quickly recouped, and led 34-31 at halftime.
Southeast coach John Baker credited his team’s success to a high energy level. He said it’s something that he and his coaching staff have been emphasizing to the team.
“We came out playing hard," Baker said. “We dealt with some things in practice this week to kind of motivate the guys to come out and play hard.”
The game remained close through the third quarter, as Southeast held a 48-45 lead. That slim lead quickly ballooned to twelve as Southeast started the fourth quarter on a 12-2 run that put the game out of reach.
Dwight Lancaster and Dexter Lawrence paced Wake Forest-Rolesville with 14 points apiece. Justin Morris led a balanced Southeast offense with 14 points and William Walker added 13 points. Ten players scored for Southeast.
“The scouting report is going to tell you I’m going to pressure and I’m going to play 15 guys,” Baker said. “When you look at the box scores, you don’t have one guy that has 20. It’s evenly divided.”
As for Wake Forest-Rolesville, Bissette said he hoped that playing a traditionally strong team on the road would help his players as the season unfolds.
“If we learn from this, the next time we have to go to a situation where you’re in a good basketball environment and the other team’s fans are supportive of their kids, maybe we don’t get flustered as much,” he said.