The first Southeast Raleigh Thanksgiving Invitational turned out to be just about everything Bulldogs coach Nicole Meyers envisioned. There was a come-and-go crowd all day Saturday to watch 12 teams play six games.
The final tipoff was the marquee event with Southeast Raleigh (3-0) pulling out a 60-58 overtime win against Heritage (2-1) in a matchup of two of the Triangle’s top teams.
“It has been my vision for years to put girls basketball on a platform by itself,” Meyers said. “A lot of times the girls look for the boys to carry the invitational. It was great to see a great turnout just for girls basketball. We’re going to do this every year.”
However, there was one part of the day she didn’t enjoying seeing.
That was the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs committed eight turnovers against Heritage’s press to squander a 41-33 lead after three quarters. Heritage sophomore Cydney Johnson converted at three-point play when she put back an offensive rebound and was fouled. She tied the score 58-58 with 11.4 seconds to play.
Southeast was unable to end the game with the last possession of regulation, but the Bulldogs junior point guard Jada McMillian took control in overtime. She scored all eight of Southeast Raleigh’s points in the extra session.
But she walked off the court frustrated with herself. Despite her overtime outburst, she finished with only 11 points. She was unhappy with her play and the team’s overall.
“It was a terrible win,” she said. “We didn’t play like we know we can play. We kept turning the ball over. We weren’t playing Southeast Raleigh basketball. We weren’t focused. We expect a lot more.”
McMillian started the OT session missing two free throws, but the next two times down the court she hit two free throws followed by a driving layup. She hit her next four three throws for 6-of-6 in OT.
Meyers was happy with McMillian’s ability to re-focus in the overtime period.
“It was good to see her want the ball in her hands in the overtime,” Meyers said. “She made some clutch baskets.”
Tamia Davis led the Bulldogs with 14 points and sophomore Anya Poole showed promise with 10 points off the bench. SER played without East Carolina-bound Tamia Hicks, who is expected back next week from an injury.
Johnson led Heritage with 17 points. Demi Washington added 15 and Alissa Smalls 13.
“It was a good competitive game to play early in the season,” said Heritage coach Pat Kennedy. “Both teams wanted to see where we’re at against good competition. Both have talent and good competitors.”