Wake Forest’s boys basketball team has been improving rapidly as the season has moved along.
After starting the year with a handful of close losses and a 4-7 mark on the court, the Cougars (11-7) have lost just once since the Christmas break – and that was in double overtime to North Pitt.
Wake Forest defeated Millbrook 62-60 on a final-seconds shot Tuesday, then edged Sanderson 67-64 on Wednesday to give it the inside edge on second place in the Cap-8 4A Conference with a 6-2 mark.
Wake Forest will play first-place Heritage next Tuesday and Leesville Road on Feb. 1 and Feb. 3 in games that will likely decide the top of the final standings.
Former Chapel Hill High girls basketball and volleyball players will be given free admission to Friday’s game against Cedar Ridge at 7 p.m. to celebrate coach Sherry Norris’ 40th year of coaching.
Norris has won two N.C. High School Athletic Association championships in girls basketball and has 593 wins. She retired from volleyball, where she has a state-record 739 wins, after the 2013 season.
Garner boys basketball coach Eddie Gray will have to wait until Tuesday’s road game at Clayton to break the 500-win mark after a midweek game with West Johnston was postponed.
Pre-game technical fouls
Monday’s Hunt at Rocky Mount girls basketball game got off to an odd start – both teams were assessed technical fouls before the game for different reasons.
Hunt was given one for a delay of game. The scorekeeper was not present at tip time, which is 6 p.m. at Rocky Mount, because she hadn’t yet made it back from the JV game in the auxiliary gym. All other Big East schools play their games in back-to-back-to-back-to-back “quads” with the varsity girls tipping off at about 6:30 p.m.
First-year coach Tiffany Parks did not know about the scheduling at Rocky Mount.
“It was kind of a bad start from the get-go,” Parks said.
After Rocky Mount shot its technical free throws (making 1 of 2), Rocky Mount was given a technical for a player’s undershirt. The white undershirt matched the jersey color, but it had a black Under Armour logo underneath the collar. The rule is that if there is one visible logo (and it can’t be more than one) it must be the same color as the shirt.
Rules for uniforms have been a point of emphasis by the National Federation of High Schools this year.
Hunt made 1 of 2 free throws and the game was underway soon after. With no time off the clock, each team had a point.
The Starting 5
Five standouts from the past week.
Jada McMillian, Southeast Raleigh: Scored 21 points in a 77-10 victory over West Johnston on Tuesday.
Amoria Neal-Tysor, Lee County: Had 28 points (7-of-11 from 3, including a 40-footer at the buzzer) in a 53-43 win over Southern Lee on Wednesday.
Melody Prichard, Knightdale: Scored 27 points in a 58-44 win over Rolesville on Tuesday.
Alissa Smalls, Heritage: Scored 22 points in a 71-34 win over Sanderson on Tuesday.
Keyanna Spivey, Rocky Mount: Scored 35 points to go with 15 rebounds in a 66-49 win over Hunt on Monday.
Ricky Clemons, Rolesville: Became the first player in school history to reach the 1,000-point mark in a career with 27 points in a 78-54 win over Knightdale on Tuesday.
Eric Fox, Apex: Scored 20 in a 60-40 win over Apex Friendship on Tuesday.
Jayden Gardner, Heritage: Scored 27 points in a 91-66 win over Wakefield on Wednesday and 18 in a 68-42 win over Sanderson on Tuesday.
Jimmie Sanders III, Wayne Country Day: Recently topped the 2,000-point mark in his career, which started at Neuse Charter.
Donte Tatum, Cary: Scored 25 in a 57-52 win over Middle Creek on Monday.
Conference race analysis.
Cap-8 4A boys: Undefeated Heritage (19-0, 9-0) has a 2.5-game lead on upstart Wake Forest (11-7, 6-2), which has won five straight including stunning Millbrook on Tuesday. After Leesville Road (12-6, 5-3) beat Millbrook (13-6, 5-4) on Wednesday, the Wildcats have dropped to fourth.
Greater Neuse 4A boys: Garner (16-2, 8-0) has won 51 conference games in a row and has a two-game lead on Rolesville (9-8, 6-2) and three on Clayton (10-7, 5-3).
PAC-6 4A boys: East Chapel Hill (16-4, 8-0) is up three games on Northern Durham (10-6, 5-3) and 3.5 on Cardinal Gibbons (14-5, 4-3). Hillside (12-7, 3-4), Riverside (10-7, 3-4) and Jordan (10-8, 3-5) are within striking distance of second.
Southwest Wake 4A boys: A win by Athens Drive over Green Hope on Wednesday has a familiar face in first: Apex (11-7, 9-2). Green Hope (15-3, 8-2) is a half-game back in second and plays Apex on Tuesday. Cary (10-7, 7-3), Athens Drive (13-6, 7-4) and Panther Creek (11-7, 7-4) all have a shot at first in this wide-open league.
Game times vary, usually 5:30 and 7 p.m. for varsity doubleheaders or 6 and 8 p.m. for JV/varsity quads. When the boys and girls play at separate sites, the varsity game times are either 6:30 or 7 p.m.
Friday: Northwood at J.F. Webb (girls only); Cedar Ridge at Chapel Hill (girls only); SouthWest Edgecombe at North Pitt; Wake Forest at Wakefield; Jordan at Northern Durham; Leesville Road at Sanderson; Millbrook at Broughton; Corinth Holders at Smithfield-Selma; Harnett Central at Garner; South Granville at Roanoke Rapids; Louisburg at Oxford Prep; Cleveland at Triton; Hillside at Cardinal Gibbons; Person at East Chapel Hill; Clayton at Knightdale; Southeast Raleigh at Rolesville; Ravenscroft at Durham Academy; Raleigh Charter at Voyager Academy; Panther Creek at Green Hope; Rocky Mount at Nash Central; Southern Durham at Orange (boys only); Mount Zion at Word of God.
Saturday: Voyager Academy at Kestrel Heights (1 and 2:30 p.m.); Jordan-Matthews at Northwood (5 and 6:30 p.m.)