Knightdale’s girls basketball team stood on the gas in an effort to come from behind late against East Wake on Friday, but so did the Warriors – largely thanks to Angel Rizor.
The junior forward rained down 14 of her game-high 26 points in the final frame to help East Wake hold off the Knights, 57-47, in their first conference meeting of the season.
East Wake had defeated Knightdale 48-42 in the girls’ end of the Holiday Invitational in December.
Friday’s outcome broke a tie for second place in the Greater Neuse River 4A standings. The Warriors improved to 10-5 overall and 5-1 in the league, while the Knights (9-6, 4-2) fell into a share of third place with Rolesville.
Rizor scored just four points in the first half, but said from that point onward things just started to click.
“The first half, we started out slow and the game was too close,” she said. “Then, I don’t know. I just got into a groove and started scoring.”
Trailing 37-26 to start the fourth quarter, the Knights went on an 8-2 run. A steal, juke and lay-in by junior guard Mikaya Wilson cut the deficit to 39-34 at the 5:19 mark.
But that was about the time Rizor sparked. She restored a double-digit lead twice with back-to-back 3-point plays in the final three minutes, and was also perfect on her four free throw attempts in that time.
“I really didn’t feel any pressure,” Rizor said. “Even though we didn’t have a big lead, we still had enough.”
At the same time on the other end of the court, Knightdale’s leading scorer was on the bench. Senior forward Jada Ballen fouled out and didn’t score in the fourth after posting a team-high 10 points over the first three stanzas.
Wilson and senior guard Lovely Locklear each added nine points for the Knights. All of Locklear’s scoring came in the fourth, when Knightdale posted 21 points but East Wake answered with 20.
“Every time we’ve played East Wake so far, it’s been them out-rebounding us,” said Knightdale coach Trent Bunn. “We’ve got to do a better effort on the glass, protecting the paint and securing rebounds offensively and defensively.
“(The Warriors) do what they do, they commanded the paint and they were the better team tonight.”
Senior guard Ciera Williams and sophomore forward Tamira Knuckles added 10 points each for the Warriors.
East Wake broke away from a 10-9 Knights lead to hold a 25-19 advantage at the half following a pair of Williams free throws.