GARNER — Clayton fed its two scoring stars senior guard Anthony Gaskins and junior forward Gary Clark throughout the second half and rallied for a 71-59 victory against Garner to take the Greater Neuse River 4A Conference boys basketball tournament championship.
The win gives Clayton the leagues No. 1 playoff seeding. Garner and Clayton shared the regular-season conference title after splitting their first two meetings. The Comets (25-2) should be at home throughout the sectional playoffs next week.
The Southeast Raleigh girls remained undefeated with a 53-36 victory against East Wake.
The Clayton boys trailed 39-33 with 4:46 in the third quarter, but put together a 9-0 run, then traded the lead with the Trojans twice before pulling ahead for good on a Clark follow-up shot late in the third.
We started the third quarter not getting shots on multiple trips, said Clayton coach Denny Medlin. We started moving the ball better, and staying with our offense. Anthony hit some big shots and Gary was just dominant. Tre (Armstead), our freshman, he didnt stop Julius (Barnes) but he made him work for everything.
Garner cut the lead to a single point twice midway through the fourth quarter but fell victim to a closing 14-3 run.
Clark finished with 36 points, 19 rebounds and seven blocked shots. He had 13 points in the fourth quarter.
Gaskins hit five 3-pointers on the way to his 26-point outing.
Garner took an early lead behind its outside shooting from Demarcus Sanford (19 points) and the inside work of Foster Dunbar (20 points), but those outside looks went away in the second half and Dunbar fouled out.
Southeast Raleighs girls got around a big obstacle as they defeated East Wake 53-36 Friday to claim their third straight Greater River 4A Conference tournament title.
It also marked the seventh consecutive time over the past two seasons Southeast (26-0) ousted East Wake, a team that played the Bulldogs closer in their two regular season games this year than any other team.
One thing we stressed coming into this game is that we knew the first two games were close, and we knew we were pushing our luck if we let the third one be close too, Southeast coach Nicole Meyers said, referring to a 5-point win against the Warriors (18-7) in January and a 2-point scare that followed in February.
Amara Bell, who led Southeast with 10 points, said the Bulldogs carried out what Meyers asked of them.
East Wake led 10-9 at the end of the first quarter, but things changed as the second frame began. The Bulldogs scored seven unanswered points, punctuated by a pair of free throws by Amber Richardson, in the first three minutes of the quarter and maintained a seven-point lead at the half, 22-15.
Southeast forced limited play time for Tianna Knuckles, East Wakes leading scorer, after Bell drove for a layup with 1:30 left in the third. Bell drew Knuckles fourth foul and hit the ensuing free throw to give Southeast its largest lead of the game at 13 points.
Im very disappointed with how we played, East Wake coach Toni Vick said. Southeast played harder and they wanted it more than we did. Thats pretty much it.
Behind Bell, the Bulldogs were led by Kaleisha Moore (9 points, 11 rebounds) and Alexus Hicks (9 points).
Shakerrya Morrison was the only Warrior to score more than four points. She finished with 16 points and 11 boards.
You cant have two people to show up and nobody else, Vick added. Everybody wasnt ready tonight.