APEX — Holly Springs senior Ka’la Jordan knows a thing or two about deep postseason runs.
Jordan, a guard on the Golden Hawks girls’ basketball team, also plays left field for the softball team. Holly Springs has advanced to the state softball championships the past two seasons, capturing the Eastern regional both times.
Jordan is hoping some of that deep playoff magic can extend to the hardwood, as Holly Springs has also reached the second round of the playoffs the past two years.
Still, the senior knows that will depend on how the Golden Hawks handle the regular season in a competitive Tri-9 Conference race.
On Thursday, Jordan and her teammates took another step in the right direction with a convincing 47-31 win over Apex.
Jordan scored a team-high 14 points and led the Golden Hawks defensive pressure that turned an early nine-point deficit into a 30-17 halftime lead. The win improved Holly Springs to 9-1 on the season, 5-1 in the conference.
“We really stepped up our intensity on defense, and Ka’la helped lead us with the ball pressure,” said Holly Springs coach Richard Young. “We’ve had some injuries this year, so this was the first time the (original) five starters began the game together. Tonight some role players stepped up as well.”
Apex began the game with a 10-1 run, but the Golden Hawks went on a 29-4 spurt to seize control of the game. Jordan, Kiara Leslie and Linnea Hoops forced the Cougars into making hurried passes, which Hadiya Howard and Hannah Buckley often picked off, leading to easy buckets.
Apex (5-5, 3-3) closed the gap to eight points entering the fourth but was held to just one field goal in the final period.
Cougar forward Mia Castagnero played great defense on Leslie, one of the top players in the area, limiting the Golden Hawk junior to 12 points.
“We forced a lot of passes and made some unnecessary decisions instead of playing calmly,” said Apex head coach Jay Huffman. “It felt like we never were in a rhythm tonight.
“I am proud of Mia’s defensive effort. She is always the one who face-guards the best player on the other team, but the biggest issue we had was a lot of our help assignments were missed.”
Samantha “Scoop” Curcuro (nine points) and Castagnero (eight) paced the Cougars.