CARY — Green Hope’s boys’ and girls’ basketball teams advanced to the second round of the playoffs each with home victories against conference rivals Monday night. The second-seeded girls //struck first// with a 53-26 win against Middle Creek, while the fourth-seeded boys topped Lee County 61-44.
Wednesday means another home doubleheader for the Falcons. The girls’ get Wakefield in the second-round, while the boys play Hillside.
Lady Falcons Roll Past Middle Creek
Out to make amends for the only conference loss of senior Ashley Williams’ career, the Falcons started strong. Green Hill jumped out to a 12-0 lead shaking off the sting from the loss Tri-Nine tourney.
“I was a little worried about it in the beginning,” Green Hope coach Mike Robinson said. “But we came out and made some defensive plays, stole the ball a couple times and made some easy layups.
“Once that starts rolling, they start getting more confident and then the energy starts picking up a little more.”
Williams, who improved her career conference record to 77-1, was dominant from the opening tip, piling up 19 first-half points, including five 3-pointers; She finished with a game-high 24.
The Falcons led 20-6 after the first quarter, but the Mustangs fought back with eight unanswered points to make it a six-point game.
Green Hope responded emphatically, however, with nine straight points to close the half, then doubled its lead to 44-14 with a 15-0 third-quarter effort. The Mustangs’ first basket of the final quarter ended a 24-0 run and a scoring drought of more than 18 minutes.
The Falcons’ backups took over for more than half of the fourth quarter as the team salted away the victory.
Boys Start Fast, Drop Lee County
Fresh off the first conference tournament championship in school history, the Falcons got off to a dominant start with a 19-2 first-quarter lead.
“It was big to jump out the way we did,” Green Hope coach John Green said. “We certainly had a lot of momentum. I was very nervous that we were going to come in flat because we had such a big week that they might have been overlooking Lee County.”
Green Hope was led by strong guard play from David Robertson and Grant Rasmussen, who combined for 29 points and seven 3-pointers, including three in the first quarter. The tandem’s perimeter success in the early going paid dividends throughout in the win.
“Getting a few shots to knock down early is always a good confidence-booster so you can keep shooting throughout the game,” Rasmussen said. “Because they close out harder on you, it does open up the driving lanes.”
Trailing 19-2 entering the second period, the Yellow Jackets warmed up offensively with a 10-2 run sparked by five straight points from Jason Payne and a 3 by T.J. Lett.
But Green Hope restored its 17-point lead before half with a 10-2 spurt of its own.
The Falcons appeared to break the game open after a strong start to the third quarter stretched their lead to 26. But the Jackets refused to go down, making a 10-0 run to cut the deficit to 12.
That, however, was as close as the score got. Green Hope took its lead back to 17, 52-35, thanks to five quick points from Robertson, then put in its reserves for the game’s final minute.