RALEIGH — Both Sanderson and Enloe entered Friday night’s contest in need of a conference win.
Enloe took an early lead and withstood a brief fourth quarter Sanderson run to hold on for a 54-43 win.
“They just had more energy and effort than we did tonight and it showed,” said Sanderson coach Mike Shaw. “That’s the way it started and that’s the way it finished, too.”
The Eagles jumped out to a nine-point lead in the first quarter and expanded it to 27-15 by halftime.
Enloe coach Tommy Moore said he thought his team’s first half play set the tone for the game.
“We came out and made some shots early that helped us,” he said.
After a rough first half, Sanderson finally warmed up on offense in the third quarter, doubling its point total and cutting Enloe’s lead to 43-33 heading into the fourth quarter.
Sanderson has trailed by double digits and attempted to mount a comeback several times this season. Friday night was another example as the Spartans managed to cut the deficit to 45-41 midway through the fourth quarter.
That was as close as it would get, however, as Enloe finished the game on an 8-2 run to seal the win.
“It wasn’t like the other games, where we felt like we were right there in the game,” Shaw said. “I mean we cut it down to four, and I still didn’t feel like we were right there. I felt like there was just something in the air.”
Enloe’s late run was preceded by a timeout in which Moore told his team to keep Sanderson from getting any closer.
“The most important thing was, we had to get stops,” Moore said. “We said, ‘If we get stops the rest of the way, we win the ball game.”
The loss was the fourth in a row for Sanderson. Its record drops to 7-9 overall and 1-5 in Cap Eight play. Reggie Traywick led Sanderson with 14 points and Parker Fennema chipped in 11.
“This was the worst beating we’ve taken,” Shaw said. “We didn’t play very hard, we didn’t play very together and I think that was the difference in the game.”
The win stopped a three-game skid for Enloe, which improved its record to 8-7 overall and 2-4 in conference play. Pervis Louder led Enloe with 13 points and Dominique Lee added 10.
Though he admitted there were some bumpy spots, Moore said he was encouraged by his team’s ability to maintain it’s lead over Sanderson.
“It wasn’t perfect, we turned the ball over late and we shouldn’t do that,” he said. “But we made free throws and we handled the ball a little better down the stretch.”