Eastern Wake: Sports

Pritchard leads Knightdale past Rolesville

Knightdale’s Zee Bowens (center) protects the ball from Rolesville’s Valencia Carroll (10) and Bethany Lockhart. Knightdale took on Rolesville in Knightdale, N.C. on January 20, 2015. Knightdale won 59-36.
Knightdale’s Zee Bowens (center) protects the ball from Rolesville’s Valencia Carroll (10) and Bethany Lockhart. Knightdale took on Rolesville in Knightdale, N.C. on January 20, 2015. Knightdale won 59-36. newsobserver.com

In their first home game in more than a month, the Knightdale girls’ basketball team rode a breakout performance from Melody Pritchard to a needed victory over Rolesville.

The Knights outscored the Rams in every quarter in the 59-36 win, improving to 10-6 overall and 5-2 in the Greater Neuse River 4A Conference and rejoining rival East Wake in a tie for second place in the league.

Pritchard led the way with 23 points, including 17 in the second half, while Knightdale’s defense held its opponent under 40 points for the second time in three games.

Knightdale coach Trent Bunn credited strong rebounding that limited Rolesville’s scoring opportunities as the key to the win.

“We just had to hit the boards and rebound,” he said. “We did a bad job getting second-chance points, missing some layups, but we kept them to one shot (per possession), which was big.”

Rolesville (8-9, 4-3 GNRC) entered the game having won of six of its last seven games, improving tremendously during coach Clinton Williams’ debut season after an 0-21 campaign last year. But Williams was displeased with his team’s performance Tuesday.

“Knightdale came out and competed hard. We didn’t show to compete,” he said. “We’ve got to get used to the level of intensity that you’ve got to play at with some of the better teams in the conference.”

A 12-0 run for the Knights broke a 14-10 lead into a 26-10 advantage at the midpoint of the second quarter, and the lead expanded to 39-15 by three minutes into the third quarter. Lovely Locklear, Knightdale’s leading scorer this season, tallied all 10 of her points in the first half.

Rolesville’s Jaylin Powell went 6-of-10 at the free throw line and finished with 14 points; Breeanna Davis also hit double-digits for the Rams and drained both of her team’s only successful 3-point shots on the night.

Bunn gave plenty of credit to the Rams for their strong turnaround season.

“We had to execute and we had to play, which we do with everybody, but (Rolesville) gave us a battle and I’m happy to see that,” he said.

He was satisfied with the play of his own team, which had lost five times during a stretch of seven consecutive road games prior to Tuesday’s contest.

“We’ve got to take it minute by minute and not look ahead,” he said.

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