Defending state 4A basketball champion Garner put on an offensive display Thursday night.
The Trojans placed five players in double figures and ran past Southeast Raleigh 101-61, improving to 8-0 in the Greater Neuse River Conference and 16-2 overall.
“That was the best all-around shooting performance we’ve had all year,” said Garner coach Eddie Gray, whose Trojans are ranked No. 4 in The News & Observer poll.
Southeast Raleigh’s girls, also ranked No. 4 in the N&O poll, put on a show of their own – opening up a 15-0 lead after one quarter and rolling to a 64-22 victory over Garner.
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The Bulldogs improved to 14-3 and 7-1 in the Greater Neuse River Conference, tied for first place in the league.
Garner’s boys hitting on all cylinders
Garner’s boys, who average 87 points per game, topped 100 points for the second time this season.
The Trojans did it all, hitting from the outside, crashing the boards for inside baskets and cranking up the fastbreak.
“We came off a really lackluster performance in the Rolesville game,” Gray said. “We probably had more turnovers in that game than we had in a game all year. We really emphasized taking care of the ball (in practice).”
The Trojans listened, rarely turning the ball over against the Bulldogs and creating turnovers on the defensive end.
“We really got off to a good start against their zone in the first quarter and hit some outside jumpers and then we went our zone press and created some turnovers and turned them into some easy baskets,” Gray said. “It was a real good outing for us.”
Alex Reed, a 6-foot-4 junior forward, showed some range, knocking down two 3-pointers in the first period and finishing with from beyond the arc as he scored 21 points.
“I shoot good in practice,” Reed said. “Most of the time in the game there is more open stuff for other people so I tend to pass the ball. Tonight, I took the shots and they were going in.”
Junior guard Thomas Allen led the Trojans with 22 points. Senior forward Andrew Abrom and senior forward David Newton had 13 points each and sophomore forward Kenyon Burt added 12.
The Trojans opened a 7-0 lead and led 28-15 at the end of the first period, giving an indication that a 100-point night might be in the offing.
Garner went on a 14-0 run to start the second quarter and led 56-26 at halftime. It was 77-48 after three quarters.
Garner topped 100 with 33.6 seconds left when junior Keon White sank a pair of free throws.
Fast-paced, high-scoring offense is the goal every game for the Trojans, Gray said.
“I’m not real big on statistics but I do know that we average somewhere around 87 points (per game) and that is something we emphasize,” Gray said.
Southeast Raleigh (11-7, 2-6 GNRC) was led by senior guard Dominic Foy with 17 points.
Bulldogs’ girls bounce back
The Southeast girls were led by senior guard Kia Abrams with 17 points. Senior Mariah-Chanel Partin added 12 and freshman Nevaeh Haddock had 10 as the Bulldogs mixed and matched players throughout.
“We are working on fine tuning the little things that we know are going to surface at the end of the year,” Southeast coach Nicole Meyers said. “Looking at different lineups, tweaking our defenses.
“I liked what I saw out there tonight.”
The Bulldogs never let up, building a 32-7 halftime lead and going up by 46 points at 60-14 in the fourth period.
“What we have worked on is just being consistent no matter who comes out or goes into the game, that there is no dropoff,” Meyers said. “I think that will pay big dividends for us toward the end of the season.”
Garner dropped to 5-11, 2-6 in the Greater Neuse River Conference.