RALEIGH — Sanderson dominated Heritage on both ends of the court Tuesday, using a hot second quarter to cruise to a 62-27 win.
The Spartans girls’ basketball team brought increased defensive intensity just days after losing its Cap Eight opener to Wakefield. First-year coach Glenn Frazier said defense had been a focal point for the team leading up to the match against the Huskies.
“I thought the ladies stepped up to the challenge that I presented, and that was to become a better defensive team,” Frazier said. “Defense leads to offense. We’ve preached that from day one and I think we saw a little of that tonight.”
Limiting the Huskies’ offensive looks coupled with a hot hand from outside helped Sanderson (5-4, 1-1) jump out to a 32-13 lead at halftime.
The Spartans held Heritage (0-7, 0-2) to just three first-half field goals. On the other end, Jessica Fife hit four of her five 3-point shots for Sanderson before the break.
The Huskies had no answer for Fife as the junior would finish with a game-high 20 points.
“We needed to capitalize on defense,” said Heritage coach Nicole Allen. “We weren’t closing our traps on our 1-3-1 (zone defense) and we weren’t getting out on their shooters in our 2-3. We played just about every defense, and they were knocking down the shots, but I think we still needed to do a better job of getting a hand in their face.”
The Huskies converted back-to-back scores early in the second half, but again were pushed back by a dagger from behind the arc; this time from Sanderson’s Mary Boylan.
Boylan, who finished with 11 points, would be joined by sophomore Bria Gibson with big second half efforts to help Sanderson maintain its distance. Gibson finished with a double-double on 14 points and ten rebounds.
Frazier said the win was a good one at the right time for the Spartans.
“That’s a good way to go into your Christmas break,” he said. “You see what works and you start to work off that.”
Sanderson will face defending N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A champion Millbrook when conference play resumes after the new year.
Despite the loss, Allen said she was happy with the Huskies’ effort until the final buzzer.
“We work hard every game,” Allen said. “No matter how much we’re down, we’re always going to fight.”
Heritage was led by Nakhyla Powell and Sarah Stanton, who each contributed seven points.