With temperatures outside dipping well below freezing, the results of the girls and boys basketball games between Greater Neuse River Conference foes East Wake and Rolesville simply came down to how hot or cold the shooting was inside.
As expected, the teams who avoided cold stretches from the floor prevailed as the Rams swept the Warriors.
In the girls game, a determined Rolesville team shot out to a quick lead and held the Warriors at bay all night through defensive stops to grab the 54-39 victory, its first over East Wake in the series. Valencia Carroll and Jaylin Powell were in control on both ends of the floor to lead the Rams.
In the nightcap, Rolesville used its full court press to take East Wake out of its rhythm in the second half and cruised to a 56-32 win to move the Rams to 5-7 overall and 3-1 in conference action.
If Rolesville’s Jaylin Powell set the tone for the Rams girls basketball team then Valencia Carroll was the closer as Rolesville (7-6, 2-2) never trailed in its history-making 15-point win over the Warriors.
Powell scored six points and pulled down eight rebounds in the opening quarter alone and Carroll exploded in the second half, pouring in 17 of her game-high 20 points over the final 16 minutes.
East Wake (9-3, 3-1) won all six of the games in series history coming into the contest so the victory was a little sweeter than some others for the Rams.
“The first in program history – it was a long time coming,” Rolesville coach Clinton Williams said of the victory over East Wake. “They are a great program and very well-coached and so to get the first one feels good.”
Powell helped the Rams grab the early lead which grew to as big as 14 points in the first half before a late 9-2 East Wake spurt cut it to 25-18 at the break.
The efficiency on the offensive end didn’t last for the Warriors, however, as East Wake missed several point blank shots in the second half while Carroll found her rhythm.
“We just didn’t execute well on offense tonight,” said East Wake coach Toni Dupree. “It just came down to finishing and executing on offense. Our defense did okay because Rolesville has some scorers but offensively, we just didn’t match up and do our part.”
Tamira Knuckles did manage 18 points for the game for the Warriors. Emiyah Brown scored seven points and Tamia Williams turned in an inspired seven-point, 11-rebound performance.
Powell finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds while Carroll drained all three of her long distance shots for the Rams. Morgan Brown came off the bench to provide eight points.
“We’ve really been working with Valenica on her shot,” Williams said. “She hadn’t been shooting well the last couple of games but she came in early today and got some shots up. She shot a whole lot better today. That’s due to her hard work.”
An excellent all-around second quarter turned in by the East Wake basketball team seemed to indicate its game against the Rams would be up for grabs come the latter stages of the fourth quarter.
It did not play out that way, however, as the Warriors went without a field goal for the first 14 minutes of the second half and Rolesville outscored their guests 31-9 over the second half to get the win.
Behind a pair of three-pointers each from Ricky Clemons and Israel Lockamy in the first quarter, the Rams held a 20-6 lead after the first quarter.
The Warriors (3-7, 1-3) stormed back in the second quarter, however, as Daveon Vick and Zeke Raines came off the bench to supply eight and five points, respectively, to cut the lead to just a single basket by halftime.
Rolesville came out of the locker room on fire though and used a 12-1 run to grab the game by the reins.
“I think part of it was that we scored on our first possession which allowed us to get into press and that seemed to bother them just a little bit,” Rolesville coach Tommy Moore said. “We got some good shots and got some layups and that seemed to energize us a little bit on defense.”
Clemons led all scorers with 20 points, including 10 in the third quarter. Lockamy finished with 14 and Jamal Farrar had eight points and six rebounds.
East Wake settled for three free throws to account for all of its scoring in the third quarter. Evan King finally broke the drought for the Warriors with a three-pointer with two minutes left in the game.
“The game is set up so the winner is who puts the ball in the basket,” East Wake coach Kenneth Melton said. “We had to match their scoring and we didn’t do that. We just went ice cold. We went colder than it is outside.”