FUQUAY-VARINA — The old adage, as quoted by Middle Creek coach Wes Petty Friday night, goes in a “rivalry game, you throw the records out.” And sometimes that doesn’t always play out in girls’ basketball.
But it has this year when Fuquay-Varina, the eighth-place team in the Tri-9 Conference, has played against the Mustangs, the third-place team.
Middle Creek once again prevailed, this time 52-44, but not before Fuquay made it close with a fourth-quarter rally.
The Bengals (1-14, 1-8), who lost the previous head-to-head battle by two, shot 8-of-10 in the final period to close the gap.
Aside from good shooting, Fuquay forced turnovers to get back into the game – which is also how it happened earlier in the year.
“Early in the season when we were sucessful, we were aggressive,” said Fuquay-Varina coach Monte Bullock. “We were in their face, ball-pressure, getting turnovers – some of that fourth-quarter stuff (from tonight).”
Middle Creek (11-6, 6-3) was led in scoring by Brianna McCrimmon (14 points) and Sydney Smith (11).
Mustangs guards Justice White and Betsy Dohrer held Fuquay’s dynamic scoring point guard Camille Baker to four field goals, but Baker had 19 points thanks in large part to her free throw shooting.
Middle Creek led 24-12 at halftime, though Fuquay had just two made baskets at that point.
“The lid’s been on the basket for, gosh, the past 10 games,” Bullock said.
Other Fuquay players were forced to make shots, but in the second half they did.
Tiana Hunter was second on her team with 12 points.
“I thought we good job chasing Camille all night, but their other kids stepped up and played hard,” Petty said.
Middle Creek has the head-to-head edge on Athens Drive in third place of the Tri-9 Conference.
Petty has had teams finish third in the conference before, but sometimes with a college-bound player or two.
This year the Mustangs have no player is averaging more than 9.6 points per game.
“To be where we are right now, I’m super happy,” Petty said. “When you looked at these kids on paper, a lot of people are like ‘Who are these kids?’ But we knew what we had coming in.
“We’ve got a great group of kids who love each other and care for each other, and it’s fun. It’s fun coaching these kids.”
Blake: 919-460-2606 or twitter.com/JMBpreps