RALEIGH — The Southeast Raleigh girls’ basketball team withstood conference rival Harnett Central and advanced to the third round of the NCHSAA 4A playoffs with a 55-45 win Wednesday night.
After falling behind 15-10 in the first quarter, the Bulldogs’ attacking style allowed them to outscore the Trojans 21-4 in the second quarter. Alexus Hicks and Amber Richardson combined for 13 points in the quarter; most coming off of 10 Harnett Central turnovers in the period.
“I talked to them at the end of the first quarter about attacking,” Southeast Raleigh coach Nicole Meyers said. “We were too passive and settling for outside shots in the first quarter, so my whole subject line was all about attacking the basket.
“I think that shifted the momentum a little.”
The Bulldogs took the lead for good with 4:48 left in the first half. Hicks’ steal led to a quick layup to give Southeast Raleigh a 16-15 lead.
The Trojans, however, gave the Bulldogs a harder fight than they had in the teams’ two Greater Neuse River Conference meetings, which Harnett Central lost by 25 and 14 points.
But despite the hustle exhibited by the senior-heavy Trojans, Harnett Central was unable to get the lead under double digits until the final seconds of play.
Two nights after avenging three earlier defeats to East Wake with a first-round triumph over the Warriors, Harnett Central appeared early on to be putting itself in position to do the same against the only other team to have beaten them.
The Trojans’ leading scorer, DeAnneisha Jackson, netted six of her team-high 13 points in the opening quarter. Jalisia Campbell turned in a stellar performance as well for Harnett Central with 11 points and 13 rebounds. Brisha Gilbert added nine points off the bench.
Hicks led the way for the Bulldogs with 22 points and Richardson scored 15.
Southeast advances to face Clayton in the next round. Southeast won all three games against Clayton this year, but Meyers predicts a hard-fought contest.
“There’s nothing new; we can’t surprise them too much,” Meyers said. “All we can do is try to match the intensity and execute offensively and defensively.”