Garner had little trouble rebounding from a loss to Clayton in last week’s Greater Neuse 4A tournament championship as the Trojans pounded Fayetteville Pine Forest 70-52 in the first round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A boys basketball playoffs.
Garner will play Wednesday at Fayetteville Seventy-First (25-2), a 97-54 winner over Greenville Rose.
Garner set the tone early against Pine Forest, forcing six turnovers during a 17-0 run in the first quarter for 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.”
Senior guard Demarcus Sanford led Garner with 16 points.
In other area games, Apex (19-9 and a No. 3 seed) held on to stop 14th-seeded Lumberton (10-16), 61-58. Apex led 36-21 at the half and 48-38 entering the fourth quarter. T.J. Evans led the win with 21 points.
Apex will be at home against Millbrook, a 75-63 winner over Northern Durham, on Wednesday.
Middle Creek (19-8) handled Southern Pines Pinecrest 60-54. The Mustangs started fast and led 11-0.
“Starting quickly was definitely something we’ve focused on,” Middle Creek coach David Kushner said. “We wanted to pressure a lot, and it opened up some transition opportunities for us. And tonight, we finished a few more of those shots than we have in other games.”
Leesville Road (19-8) defeated Person 50-45. Leesville will travel to Broughton, an 80-66 winner over Enloe, for a second-round game.
The Southeastern Conference’s Richmond County and Hoke eliminated Southeast Raleigh and East Wake. The Raiders nipped Southeast 77-73, while Hoke ran past East Wake 83-54.
3A: Oxford Webb (22-5) and University of North Carolina recruit Isaiah Hicks advanced with an 82-47 win over Asheboro and will be at home on Wednesday against Southern Wayne. Hicks had 24 points, 11 rebounds and 10 blocked shots.
Erwin Triton (23-3 and the No. 2 seed) slipped past Northern Nash (8-14), 54-52. Maurice McBryde had 17 points.
2A: Bunn (21-6) took care of business in a 70-57 win. DeShawn High scored 34 points as the Wildcats took a 21-point lead into the fourth quarter.
Bunn will play at Carrboro, an 81-70 winner over Durham Arts. Trai Sharp scored 15 points for Carrboro (23-3).
Northwood’s Aumad Walker had 19 points and Karaus Rone had 18 in a 72-56 win over Warren County. Northwood (17-10) will play Kinston (23-2), an 87-62 winner over Northwest Halifax.
1A: Durham Voyager (16-10) was ousted by Camden 62-48.