CARY — The first year of Cary Christian boys’ basketball coach Bill Thompson and the second year of girls’ basketball coach Shelley Holmes have a few similarities.
For example, both coaches could use a Tuesday night game against Kerr-Vance Academy as a litmus test for where their young teams are in the year.
Cary Christian’s girls easily defeated Kerr-Vance 40-20 and are the second-place team in the Eastern Plains Independent Conference, which has grown to nine members this year after the additions of Faith Christian and Grace Christian.
It took a quarter or two for the Knights (12-5, 4-1) to finally break away after a sluggish start, but that’s how things go sometimes without point guard Grace Smith.
Smith, an eighth-grader, has missed a few conference games with an ankle injury but could return soon.
Until then, most of Holmes’ players have had to play out of position – except for center Amy Van Deventer, who has taken it upon herself to do most of the scoring in Smith’s absence.
“I’m a senior and I’m a captain, so when it’s not working I try to calm everyone down,” Van Deventer said. “Once I start scoring, everyone feels more comfortable.”
The Knights’ boys’ team (7-13, 3-4) is in seventh place of the EPIC, ahead of Faith Christian and Halifax Academy.
On Tuesday night, the young team showed glimpses of promise. It led conference leader Kerr-Vance Academy (13-3, 5-1) after the first quarter. But the problems of this season reared their head in the next eight minutes.
The Knights went on a scoring drought while being beaten on the glass at both ends. The one-point lead dissipated into a 15-point halftime deficit, and the game never got much closer.
“I saw some improvement. When you get beat by a team like that, you don’t want to rail on them too bad,” Thompson said. “We had an offensive drought, no doubt. And defensively we didn’t close out.”
Freshman forward Jeremy Adams led the Knights in scoring with 11 points. Kerr-Vance Academy’s Brandon Dickerson had a game-high 19 points, while R.J. Hunt and Derrius Perry added 16 and 12 points, respectively.
“We have about five guys that average about six points or so, but I’m looking for something consistent on defense,” Thompson said.
Blake: 919-460-2606 or twitter.com/JMBpreps