Southeast Raleigh started and finished strong against Knightdale on Friday to take the outright lead in the Greater Neuse River 4A Conference girls basketball standings.
The 56-44 win gave the Bulldogs a slight separation from the Knights, as both teams entered the game with records of 10-2 overall and 3-0 in the league. The situation was a familiar one for Southeast, the three-time defending GNRC champs, in the first game back from Christmas break for both teams.
“They knew what to expect, because they had the same scenario against East Wake a couple weeks ago, when we were both unbeaten,” Southeast coach Nicole Meyers said of her players. “We came off the break ready for the challenge.”
The Bulldogs outscored the Knights by 16 total points in the first and fourth quarters, including an 18-8 opening frame, but found themselves struggling to match the Knights in the middle. That was largely the result of Knightdale senior forward Persia Brown, who scored 16 of her game-high 25 points in the second and third quarters.
“I didn’t realize (Brown) had as many points as she did,” Meyers said. “I think a lot of it came from over-helping too much at the post, and then missed blocked shots – something that we’re usually good at.
“It’s definitely something that’s not going to be a problem carrying on into the rest of the season.”
The Knights’ 19-point second quarter cut their double-digit deficit to 32-27 at the half. The third quarter saw Brown trade shot-for-shot with Bulldogs’ leading scorers Jade Phillips and Amber Richardson, who finished with 17 and 16 points, respectively.
Southeast led 45-39 to start the final stanza, but was quick to rebuild its 10-point margin after putting a damper on Brown.
“We were trying to get her some more touches because she was kind of hot, but (Southeast) did a really good job making it uncomfortable for our guards to make the entry passes,” Knightdale coach Trent Bunn said. “The pressure of the game in the beginning got to us, and the pressure of being in the game late got to us.”
Knightdale boys ease to victory
The Knights flexed their defensive muscles late in Friday’s game against Southeast Raleigh and it paid off in the form of a 73-45 blowout.
Southeast trailed by just seven points, 38-31, at halftime, but was outscored 35-14 in the second half. The Bulldogs didn’t score a field goal in the final four minutes of the game.
Southeast had three players score in double figures – William Walker (18 points), and Demetrius Sanders and Myles Harris (10 each).
Knightdale was led by Ronshad Allen-Shabazz’s game-high 24 points, and 15 from Daquan Lilly.