Southeast Raleigh is getting a lot of statewide attention for its fast start in girls’ basketball this season.
And although the Bulldogs didn’t play their prettiest game Tuesday against Knightdale, they were more than good enough – especially on the defensive end – to get the job done.
Seniors Amara Bell and Kaleisha Moore scored 12 points each as the Bulldogs blew past the visiting Knights 62-29 in Greater Neuse River 4A action.
Southeast, ranked No. 2 in the state by NCPreps.com – one spot ahead of defending champion Millbrook and behind only Holiday Invitational champion Myers Park – improved to 14-0, 5-0. Knightdale fell to 3-10, 1-3.
“I’m not happy, despite the margin,” said veteran Southeast coach Nicole Meyers, whose team has won the past three GNRC titles. “To me there are little things we need to do right so they don’t hurt us in the end.
“We fouled too much and we let Knightdale get eight offensive rebounds. I’m happy with the conference win, but we’ve still got a long ways to go.”
Amber Wright led Knightdale with nine points.
“We had a lot of turnovers in the second half and ended up with 33,” Knightdale coach Anthony Byrd said. “And we missed too many free throws. We didn’t play a smart game.
“Southeast is a top team, but we needed a better showing than that. They’ve been up there for a long time. They’re athletic, they can shoot the 3 and they’ve got post players who can get to the basket and score. It’s a balanced basketball team.”
Southeast led 33-22 at halftime behind 10 points from Bell.
“Today we really tried to work on boxing out and keep them from getting so many offensive rebounds,” Bell said. “We’re doing a good job stopping our opponents from scoring and getting points on our end.
“We’re balanced and we have a deep bench. As long as we take care of our roles, we can keep being successful.”
Knightdale jumped to a 7-2 lead on a follow-up from Wright with 4 minutes, 20 seconds left in the first quarter, but the Bulldogs responded with a 15-0 run keyed by Bell and Alexus Hicks that extended into the second.
The Bulldogs led 31-18 on a Hicks 3-pointer with 2:42 left in the half. Knightdale got 10 free-throw attempts before the hosts scored again, but hit only four of them.
“I got into early foul trouble and couldn’t help out my team like I should have early in the game,” said Moore, who scored 10 points in the fourth period. “Our goal is defense, and we did a good job of that tonight. That’s why we win. If we can play hard and box out, we can play with just about anybody.”
Southeast made it 42-25 after three quarters.
“I don’t think we came out ready enough to play,” Wright said. “We’ve got to step up our defense better than it was tonight.
“We’ve got to do a better job getting the ball in the basket and just executing on the offensive end.”
The Bulldogs’ biggest lead was the final score, coming on a Kia Abrams layup with 43 seconds left.