The Cleveland girls basketball team boasts one of the tougher defenses in the Triangle area and the Rams relied on that strength to dispose of rival West Johnston 47-28 Tuesday night.
The Rams held the Wildcats (2-12) to just four points in the opening frame and two points in the final period as they methodically wore down their guests to improve their record to 13-2 on the year.
“It’s just good getting back on the winning track,” said Cleveland coach Chris Danehower. “We’re getting a good feeling about what we’re doing now as we’re headed back towards the down stretch of the season.”
West Johnston was just 3-of-20 from behind the three-point line, turned the ball over 20 times and was held to just five trips to the foul line for the entire as the Wildcats relied on the jump shot.
Having cut what was once a 16-point Cleveland lead down to eight points in the final minute of the third quarter, the Wildcats had three chances (one at the end of the third period and two to open up the fourth quarter) to trim the lead even further.
After missing a shot to get the lead down to six points in the final moments of the third quarter, West Johnston turned the ball over on its first two possessions in the final period which allowed the Rams to extend the lead to double digits again.
They said it
“We missed a ton of easy shots,” West Johnston coach Laura Jefferson said. “It’s the same old story, we do all the hard things but can’t come through on the easy things.”
Three who mattered
Myrayna Watkins, Cleveland: Watkins led all Rams scorers with 10 points but also added nine rebounds. Watkins was also a disruptive force on defense forcing numerous West Johnston turnovers by getting into the passing lanes.
Miranda Hinton, Cleveland: The Cleveland point guard was in complete control in running the offense and did a solid job in limiting open looks for West Johnston’s dangerous outside shooters. She finished with nine points and five rebounds.
Christian Sanders, West Johnston: The Wildcats’ leading scorer didn’t disappoint as she led the team with 14 points despite receiving a lot of attention from the stingy Cleveland defense.
Kailjn Williamson, Cleveland: Despite West Johnston’s shooting woes, it took awhile before the Rams opened up a sizable lead. Much of that lead came through Williamson as her seven first half points helped to stake the Rams to a 13-point advantage at halftime.
With a win over Triton already under its belt, Cleveland hopes to be involved in what figures to be a competitive race to the top of the standings in the Two Rivers 3A Conference.
The Rams host South Johnston in their next conference game Friday night while Corinth Holders also looks primed to contend for the conference crown.
“It’s going to be a tight race at the top so we need to just take it one game at a time and go from there,” said Danehower.
The Wildcats turn to play in the Greater Neuse River Conference with games against Garner and Knightdale looming.
By the Numbers
3: Blocked shots from West Johnston’s Alexus Stancil.
4: Number of Cleveland players with at least seven points.
7: Rebounds posted by the Rams’ Tehya Lee.
13: Rebounds for the Wildcats’ Courtney Creese.
0: Bench points for the Wildcats.