RALEIGH — William Walker was a lot luckier on a late free throw he blew than Ronshad Allen-Shabazz was with one he missed on purpose.
And those rebounds were a big reason Southeast Raleigh survived its Greater Neuse River 4A Conference boys’ basketball matchup with Knightdale on Tuesday night.
Justin Morris had a season-high 22 points to lead four Bulldogs in double figures as Southeast recovered after seeing a big lead evaporate and topped the Knights 75-71.
Kwamaine Fairley added 14 points, Walker 12 and Myles Harris 11 as Southeast improved to 8-5, 4-1 in GNRC action.
Allen-Shabazz had 16 to lead player in double figures for the Knights (9-5, 3-2) Trey Fowler added 13 points, Petey Hyman 12, Marcel Johnson 11 and Daquan Lilly 10.
“That’s just good high school basketball,” Southeast coach John Baker said. “It happens when you’ve got two good teams. The defensive effort was there for us, the intensity was there and we really got after them in the first half.
“After we got behind we just had to settle down and play through it. That’s what you live for as a player. We got lucky with a couple of calls, but we weren’t so lucky on some other ones.”
The result came after Knightdale had trailed 43-29 following a pair of Morris free throws with 7:49 left in the second quarter, then recovered to take a 67-64 lead on Johnson’s three-point play with 2:33 to go before the Bulldogs came back to win the final two minutes.
“We made quite a comeback to give it back to them after we had taken the lead,” Knightdale coach Battle Watkins said. “But I’m proud of the second-half effort. We played better defense and played better in the half court.
“Petey Hyman really sparked us with some defense off the bench. It was just a game of momentum, and they had it in the last couple of minutes. That’s just the way basketball is.”
Southeast began its final push with 2:11 left on a pair of Morris free throws that made it 67-66, then took the lead on Walker’s layup at 1:51 before a thunderous dunk from Morris made it 70-67 at 1:36.
“We played strong and came together as a team tonight,” Morris said. “This was a big win. We couldn’t let them win.
“We had to play strong at the end. Coach told us to just get the stops and we did.”
Fairley hit the first of two free throws with 27 seconds left to make it 71-67, and then with 16.5 remaining Walker hit the second of two for a five-point lead.
Allen-Shabazz knocked down a 3-pointer to make it 72-70 with 11 seconds to go. Then at 8.1 Walker missed a pair of free throws, but came up with the long rebound. He then hit two with 5.6 left and it was 74-70.
“I felt like I shot the same ball on the two misses,” Walker said. “I just had to refocus and knock them down the second time.
“We shouldn’t have let Knightdale back into the game when we had a big lead. I’m just glad we were able to get the ‘W.’”
Allen-Shabazz drew a foul on the inbounds play, made the first free throw and then after a time out missed the second on purpose.
But Southeast’s Demetrius Sanders hit the first of two free throws with 3.4 to play to ice the outcome.
“This one is tough,” Allen-Shabazz said. “We came out with more heart in the second half than they did. But they stayed into it and made some plays at the end.
“We were trying to get the rebound on that last free throw I missed and hit a 3-pointer to tie it, but it didn’t work out.”