CARY — Green Hope’s boys’ basketball team had conference title aspirations entering this season, but after last week, those hopes were dashed.
“It was hard for everybody and the coaches to swallow that – hey, first place is probably not going to happen,” Falcons coach John Green said. “Everybody was upset. We kind of stopped having fun and enjoying each other and enjoying playing.”
Then something changed entering this week. With the pressure of winning the Tri-9 Conference now gone, a refocused Green Hope team enjoyed a 67-49 win Friday night against Lee County that all but locks up the Tri-9’s third seed.
The Falcons had been swept by second-place Apex and were three games behind Middle Creek last Friday. But they have won three straight, including an upset of Middle Creek.
“It was certainly hard for me to get over that, but the season continues and you’ve got to get over that and move on,” Green said.
Senior David Robertson said those losses fired him up and made him realize the team couldn’t take any opponent for granted.
He appeared fired up Friday, rattling off a game-high 29 points.
“I got a couple of lucky bounces,” Robertson, a UNC Asheville recruit, said. ”I was trying to be aggressive and get in the gaps since they were playing a zone most of the time.”
The Falcons (16-5, 10-4) led 29-19 at halftime.
Lee (11-10, 8-6) shot 50 percent in the second half (after shooting 29.7 in the first), but couldn’t cool down Green Hope, which shot 9-of-18 from behind the 3-point arc for the game.
Robertson, John Mosser and sophomore Jack Costigan combined for all but three of the Falcons’ points.
“(Robertson) was the hot man and we got it to him a lot,” Costigan said.
Green was impressed with Costigan, usually the team’s sixth man, who started and scored 15 points in his increased minutes.
“He played under control tonight after the initial jitters got out,” Green said. “He was a big difference in the game tonight.”
Blake: 919-460-2606 or Twitter: @JMBpreps