FUQUAY-VARINA — The Holly Springs boys’ basketball team returned to its winning ways Friday with a solid 60-45 Tri-9 Conference victory over rival Fuquay-Varina.
Senior Anthanee Doyle led the way with 17 points, while junior Craig McDaniel added 13 to get the Golden Hawks (7-6, 3-3) back to .500 in the conference.
The Bengals (1-12, 1-6) trailed much of the way following a close first period. The two teams were tied 10-10 after one, but Holly Springs limited Fuquay-Varina to just seven points in the second quarter to take a 27-17 lead into intermission.
“We started off well offensively, but came out a little flat defensively,” said Holly Springs head coach Thurman Jordan. “In the second our press turned the outcome of the game in our favor.”
Jordan credited McDaniel with giving the Golden Hawks the defensive spark which forced the Bengals into rushed shots and a few costly turnovers.
“I think Craig settled our guys down so we were able to turn up the heat defensively,” Jordan said. “I also liked the way Markese (Evans) played a solid game for us.”
Doyle carried Holly Springs offensively, scoring eight in the first half, and sinking three treys in the game, yet the low key shooting guard was quick to credit his coach and teammates for his achievements.
“The first half was kind of ugly, but my team stepped it up after halftime,” Doyle said. “We listened to our coach and ran the offense the right way and everything worked out. I’ve got to be honest, my teammates really got me the ball in the right spots.”
The Golden Hawks hit six three pointers and scored on numerous assisted plays in the paint.
Holly Springs led by as many as 24 points in the fourth quarter before Fuquay-Varina got hot from beyond the arc, nailing three 3-pointers in the game’s final minutes.
D.J. Burt paced the Bengals with 12 points, while Brandon Mendez scored nine and Jake Hartzell added seven.
“We did a lot better job boxing out in the second half but we turned the ball over too much and were a little too quick with our shot selection,” said F-V head coach Randy Barrow. “We did fairly well with their press early on but later it sped us up a bit too much.”
Both teams will play conference leaders next week, as Holly Springs faces Middle Creek and Lee County, while Fuquay-Varina travels to Apex.