GARNER — Coming off a tough loss to Clayton in the championship game of the Greater Neuse River 4A tournament, Garner came out strong and never let up in rolling to a 70-52 victory over Fayetteville Pine Forest in the first round of the NCHSAA 4A playoffs.
The Garner’s boys basketball team bounced back in a big way Tuesday night.
Coming off a tough loss to Clayton in the championship game of the Greater Neuse River 4A
tournament, Garner came out strong and never let up in rolling to a 70-52 victory over Fayetteville Pine
Forest in the first round of the NCHSAA 4A playoffs.
Garner (22-4), seeded sixth in the East bracket of the playoffs, utilized its trademark pressure defense
and fast-paced offense to advance to a second-round meeting at third-seeded Fayetteville Seventy-First
on Wednesday night.
Garner set the tone early, forcing six turnovers during a 17-0 run in the first quarter that gave the home
team a 19-4 lead.
“We wanted to find out what kind of ball handlers they had,” Garner coach Eddie Gray said. “We had
good defensive intensity and kind of let it get away from us [after that run]. It seems everybody we have
played lately hits 3-point shots on us. They made a comeback.
“We had another defensive spurt there at the end and finally put them away. They are a real scrappy
ball club. They didn’t ever quit.”
Pine Forest (15-12) pulled within four points at 29-25 with a minute left in the second quarter after
making 3s on consecutive possessions. Garner responded with four points in the final minute to lead 34-
27 at halftime.
Garner started the second half by forcing a pair of turnovers in a 6-0 run and Pine Forest got no closer
than eight points the rest of the way.
“Their pressure got to us early,” Pine Forest coach David May said. “I thought we made a nice run in the
second quarter. There were times in the second half when we would get within nine and they would get
a four- or six-point run. They are good at what they do. They run the ball. We can’t play like that.
“They took us out of what we wanted to do.”
Senior guard Demarcus Sanford led Garner with 16 points.