East Wake girls' basketball turns back Clayton

CorrespondentJanuary 7, 2014 

— It was a good thing for East Wake that the Warriors built a big lead in the first half in their girls’ basketball game Tuesday night at Clayton.

The Comets are apparently pretty good at comebacks, but this time they came up short.

Kianna Wynn had 18 points, leading three East Wake players in double figures as they held off the Comets 60-52 in Greater Neuse River 4A action.

Angel Rizor had 12 points and Briana Arnold 11 for East Wake (12-2, 4-1).

Taisha Murphy led Clayton (9-4, 3-2) with 24 points, Amber Caudle had 12 and Ashley Murphy 11.

“I liked that we kept fighting back and stepped up defensively when they were coming back,” Warriors coach Toni Vick said. “Taisha Murphy is a good player. We didn’t do as good a job on her as I would have liked.

“We’re playing as a team and working hard. I still think we need to improve offensively at crunch time.”

It was East Wake’s sixth straight win against the Comets.

“We got off to a slow start,” said Clayton assistant coach Steve Moats, who handled sideline duties as Marlon Lee was away for a meeting as a Smithfield Town Councilman. “They did a better job than we did of crashing the boards and getting second chances.

“I thought during the comeback we did a lot better job of getting pressure on them and causing turnovers. That’s more our game. We need turnovers and transition baskets.”

East Wake led 30-17 at halftime behind 14 points from Wynn. Taisha Murphy had eight at the break for the Comets.

There were two ties and two lead changes in the opening minutes before Rizor’s follow shot at 4 minutes, 14 seconds of the first quarter gave the Warriors a 7-4 lead. East Wake never trailed again.

“We kept the intensity up when we needed it,” Wynn said. “We were doubling Taisha on inbounds plays and we tried to deny her the ball every time we could. She’s as tough to stop as anyone in the conference. But we have a good team chemistry and everybody is contributing.”

The Warriors’ biggest lead was 42-19, on the second of back-to-back Rizor layups with 4:57 left in the third.

“It was a win but we could have done better,” Rizor said. “Clayton is a good team. We slept on them a little bit when we got a lead and we can’t do that. We were making too many lazy passes and not getting stops on defense.”

The Comets showed fight, scoring 11 straight at one point to cut the margin to 46-36 on two Taisha Murphy free throws with 6:41 to go.

East Wake then scored seven of the next 10 points to reestablish its working margin.

“We weren’t playing as well as we could as a team in the first half,” Taisha Murphy said. “People’s minds weren’t where they should be. But we came in and got it together and it was one of our best comebacks this year.

“I need to get my teammates the ball more and be a better facilitator.”

Clayton’s closest approach after that was six points.

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