FUQUAY-VARINA — “New” is the optimal word when talking about Fuquay-Varina High School basketball this year.
Both basketball programs have new varsity head coaches. Gail Siemer is now at the helm of the girls’ program and former N.C. State player Danny Strong leads the boys’ team.
If Friday night is any indication, this year’s teams may not only be new but improved as well.
The Bengals girls picked up their second win in as many games with a 41-38 decision over visiting Harnett Central, while the boys held off the Trojans from just down the road and over the county line by a 45-36 score.
3-pointers carry Bengal boys
Strong said his team struggled from the outside a little in its first contest of the year against Cleveland – a loss – but it was the perimeter game that helped carry it to victory on Friday.
Junior Keegan Coolbaugh, who had a team-high 11 points for the night, hit two of his three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to help the Bengals cruise to a win.
“(The) ball was moving better tonight,” said Strong. “We had our inside-outside game going good tonight. That is what we need to have success with our outside shooting.”
Senior Dez Byrd added another 10 points, and Taqqee Richardson had six for Fuquay-Varina.
Harnett Central was paced offensively by Don Singletary, who had 12 points. Grant Mace added another six, and Anthony Staton had five for the Trojans in a losing effort.
“(It) definitely feels great,” said Strong about his first win. “I’m really happy, the guys worked hard in the off-season, now they have that big win at home. They need to get that momentum going.”
Girls hang on for home win
Despite being outscored in a tense final four minutes, the Fuquay girls held on to capture Siemer’s second win in as many tries. Siemer was coaching against the school she worked at last year in Harnett Central, which was coming off a 21-win season a year ago.
“You can never fault their effort,” Siemer said. “They are always going to go all out and give it 100 percent.”
Amber Roberson paced the Bengals with 14 points, as Tiana Hunter added another 10 in the winning cause.
Lakiesha Lewis’ 16 points led Harnett Central.