SMITHFIELD — East Wake got by Smithfield-Selma for the second time in two weeks Friday night, but this time was even better for the Warriors.
This time it was a conference game, and this time it was on the road.
Josh Siler poured in 18 points, leading three East Wake players in double figures as the Warriors topped the Spartans 60-46 in Greater Neuse River 4A Conference boys basketball action.
The victory, which improved the Warriors to 4-11 overall and 2-4 in conference action, ended a two-game losing streak that had begun after East topped SSS 66-60 in the consolation game of Corinth Holders’ holiday tournament on Dec. 28.
SSS, which lost its sixth straight game, fell to 7-7 and 2-3 in their final season in the GNRC before beginning play in the Two Rivers 3A next season.
Nick Cook had 11 points and Paschal Ammons 10 for the Warriors.
“We needed that one badly,” East coach Darren Stinson said. “When we come down here it’s always tough for us.
“We did the simple and easy things well tonight, and when we do that we’re a pretty good basketball team. When we don’t turn the ball over, slow down, run our offense and take good shots, we’re a pretty good team. And we can get back and stop our opponents. Our transition offense was the best it has looked in a while.”
Tony Hobbs and Quantez Leach had 12 points each for SSS, whose team had a players’ only meeting that lasted over half an hour after the loss.
“We have shown we can play with anybody in the Greater Neuse,” SSS coach James Robinson said. “We are a very small 3A-type school, and we should have beaten some of these big 4A schools.
“We compete with ourselves every game, and until we get the mental discipline required we are not going to be successful.”
East never trailed after a short jumper from Siler made it 7-6 with 4:17 left in the first period.
“We played real well,” Siler said. “Our intensity was good. We played well as a team and we finished strong.
“We’re a young team, and some people don’t know the system that well. But we did a great job with spacing on the floor tonight.”
The Warriors led 33-18 at halftime before SSS made things more respectable with a 16-9 third-quarter run to make it 42-34.
“We need to execute better, be smarter and be a team,” Leach said. “We had a great practice, but we just didn’t leave it on the floor today.”
SSS cut it to 46-37 before the Warriors finished it off at the free-throw line, using a four-corners offense and hitting 12 of 17 free-throw attempts over the final 4:49.
“We played together as a team tonight,” Ammons said. “We passed the ball instead of just taking quick shots. We played good transition basketball and pulled through it as a team.”
Hobbs said he thought the post-game skull session did his team some good.
“We’ve got to work on our chemistry, work harder and play as a team,” Hobbs said. “We can turn it around. Basically, it’s on us.”