Knightdale’s top-four season scoring leaders each hit the double-digit mark Saturday afternoon as the No. 19-seed Knights stunned No. 14 Lumberton, 66-49, in the opening round of the NCHSAA 4A girls basketball playoffs.
It was an abrupt ending for a Pirates team that went 8-2 in the Southeastern Conference, winning five of its final six games of the regular season.
“My expectation was hoping to be able to execute what we do well,” said Knights coach Trent Bunn. “I knew Lumberton had really good shooters, was very athletic and had a very good freshman averaging about 14 points per game. They’re a good team and well coached.”
Lumberton (17-7), which was led by freshman guard London Thompson with 14 points, held a 28-25 lead at the half before Knightdale (17-7) took charge.
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A 22-point third quarter gave the Knights a 47-40 advantage entering the final period, when Knightdale outscored Lumberton 19-9.
“I think just not being able to practice one time in two weeks and then having a two-hour road trip on the bus, it was just tough getting started,” Bunn said.
Junior guard Mikaya Wilson led the Knights with 16 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. She was backed by sophomore forward Zee Bowens (12 points), sophomore guard/forward Melody Prichard (11) and senior guard Lovely Locklear (10).
The Knights also got good support play from junior forward Deiara Frye (9 points) and junior guard/forward Lechonda Council, who scored eight points including two 3-pointers in her first significant minutes of play since returning from an injury.
“We got in some foul trouble and they were asked to play some big minutes,” Bunn said of Council and Frye. “I thought those two definitely deserved the game ball because they were ready when their number was called. You should always have to stay ready so you don’t have to get ready. They were ready to go.”
Bunn also credited sophomore guard Jessica Parker with controlling the tempo of the game in hectic times.
“(Parker) also gave us some really key minutes due to the fact we were in foul trouble,” he said. “It was a total team effort.”
The Knights advanced to the second round to face No. 3 seed Durham Riverside, which breezed past South Central 77-55 in the opening round.