Revenge was the theme of the night for Wakefield basketball against visiting Cap-8 4A Conference foe Wake Forest.
And in a pair of hard-fought games, the Wolverines got it not once but twice on Friday night.
In girls’ play, the Wolverines avenged an earlier loss with a 54-41 win sparked by a dominant second half.
Then in boys’ action, Wakefield took advantage of hot free-throw shooting down the stretch to hold on for a 69-62 win. Trae Smith’s 20 points led three Wolverines in double figures as they not only snapped a seven-game losing streak to their rivals but also the Cougars’ overall five-game winning streak.
The schools are archrivals whose football squads play annually for the Predator Cup.
Wake Forest’s girls had won the first meeting 44-42 in overtime at home on Dec. 16, snapping a five-game losing streak to the Wolverines who have now won 18 of their last 23 meetings.
“In the first half we just wanted to shoot a bunch of jump shots,” Wakefield coach Art Wollett said. “In the third quarter, we told them ‘No 3s.’ Camryn (Jones) did take one and luckily it went in.”
The Cougars played without head coach Patrick Surles, who was serving the first of a two-game suspension for being ejected during Wednesday’s win at Sanderson.
Assistant coach Aerial Perez directed Wake Forest’s bench. His team was missing his own sophomore daughter Nia Perez as well as junior Jada Miller, both out after ankle injuries from the rough night against the Spartans.
“We’re down a couple of crucial players,” coach Perez said. “We lose about 20 points with them on the bench. Tonight we were playing girls who hadn’t gotten much time all year. I thought we did a good job until we kind of lost our legs.”
Jada Peebles led the Wolverines (10-8, 6-4) with 22 points, 18 of them in the second half, while fellow sophomores Gabby Donaldson added 12 and Peris Pavlinac eight.
Junior Kayla Surles, one of the head coach’s triplet daughters, led Wake Forest (8-10, 4-5) with 12 points while sophomore Presley Ayers added 10 and Keenan Surles nine.
“We played well,” said Kayla Surles, who along with her sister Keenan has already committed to play at Division III Hollins in Virginia while their sister Emma, who plays volleyball, keeps the basketball scorebook. “We just ran out of energy toward the end. But our hustle was there. That was only the second game I had ever played without my Dad. It was kind of weird not having him on the sideline.”
Wake Forest’s boys had won their first meeting 59-57 at home on Dec. 16. The Cougars have won 15 of the last 24 meetings with Wakefield.
Antonio Patterson added 16 points for Wakefield (11-9, 4-6), while Tyler Wilson chipped in 15.
“This win was huge for us,” Wakefield coach Garrett Stevens said. “We really needed it. This was a big week for us. Winning two out of three with (unbeaten) Heritage mixed in there is a pretty good week.”
Demetrius Everett had a game-high 24 points to pace Wake Forest (11-8, 6-3), while Isaiah Jones added 13.
“We fouled too much and didn’t defend very well,” Wake Forest coach Todd Seymour said. “They outshot us 44-19 from the free-throw line and made 31. When you lose essentially a two-possession game – you just can’t get outshot by 25 free throws ever and expect to win. We essentially gave back a great win we got Tuesday against Millbrook.”
Wakefield’s next games are on Tuesday night at Millbrook.
Wake Forest’s next games are at home on Tuesday against Heritage.
“We were kind of too ‘handsy’ at times, didn’t do what we should have done defensively and they capitalized,” Everett said. “When we beat them last time we were tougher down the stretch. Tonight we didn’t do what we needed to do. You have to hit free throws on the road to expect to win.”