East Chapel Hill basketball head coach Ray Hartsfield has a simple message for his Wildcats this week.
Defend your turf.
“If we can take care of business at home, that’d be big for us,” Hartsfield said last weekend.
East Chapel Hill lost some ground in its bid for a post-season playoff spot when the ‘Cats fell at home to Northern Durham, but they rebounded to defeat Person 56-30 and then won a big game on the road with a 51-50 thriller Friday at Durham Hillside.
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“Any time you can get a win on the road, that’s a good thing,” Hartsfield said. “Winning two straight games gives us a good opportunity to get back into the mix.”
Robert Wilson led East against Hillside with 25 points and 12 rebounds. Carter Collins contributed 12 points and Jai So five assists. Kevin Gilland supplied four big defensive rebounds and three blocks as the Wildcats fought off a 17-5 rally by Hillside in the fourth quarter.
East Chapel Hill (7-9) was still underwater overall, but was 2-2 in PAC-6 games and after Friday was tied with Durham Riverside (13-4) for third place in the conference.
East was scheduled to host two PAC-6 games this week: against league-leading Jordan (16-1, 4-0) Tuesday and then Riverside on Friday.
“We can really help ourselves this week,” Hartsfield said. “It’s important for us to defend our home court.”
Riverside, which won 63-54 last Friday at Roxboro Person, plays at Northern Durham (13-5, 3-1) this Friday. (See www.chapelhillnews.com) for results of Tuesday’s games.
East’s girls tied for 3rd
Meanwhile, the East Chapel hill girls lost for the first time in three games when they fell 65-30 Friday at uber-power Hillside, the No. 1 ranked team in the Triangle.
But East (7-5, 2-2) had its playoff destiny in its own hands this week with home games against Jordan (12-5, 2-2) and Riverside (15-1, 3-1).