Early season nonconference basketball games can sometimes get a bit lopsided.
That’s why they’re early season nonconference games.
Tuesday’s match-up between visiting East Wake of the Greater Neuse River 4A Conference and host Smithfield-Selma of the Two Rivers 3A Conference was one of those games. But despite the 66-18 score that went the way of East Wake, both teams found plenty to build on for the long season that lies ahead.
For Smithfield-Selma (0-5), coach William Sanders talked about effort, chemistry and mental fortitude.
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“Our effort was not good tonight,” Sanders said. “We’re still trying to get some chemistry going with our first five (players). But we’re still going to fight. We don’t like losing.
“We’ve got to get ready for our conference games. We have some mental stuff to work out.”
At the other end, it’s the little things that coach Toni Vick will take from the game as the 3-0 Warriors move forward.
“We’re still working on our execution and working on the small things like defense and boxing out and getting some cohesiveness so when we get into some big games we can execute those things,” Vick said.
What worked: East Wake dominated the glass, particularly at the offensive end of the floor.
The Warriors’ first four buckets of the second half were all on put-backs, and East Wake limited most of the Spartans’ possessions to a single shot.
“We always press the glass,” Vick said.
What didn’t work: After hanging with the Warriors in the second quarter – being outscored just 17-13 and trailing 35-17 at halftime – Smithfield-Selma came out flat in the second half and was held without a single bucket.
The Spartans’ lone point of the second half was a Lashae Daniels free throw with 1:44 remaining in the fourth quarter.
“It shows we can keep teams from scoring,” Vick said.
Putting up numbers: East Wake’s Kianna Wynn scored 13 of her game-high 20 points in the second half, while teammate Angel Rizor notched 11 of her 16 points in the first half.
Dannya Tavarez led the Spartans with 10 points.
History shows: Smithfield-Selma and East Wake both competed in the Greater Neuse River 4A conference until this year, when realignment positioned the Spartans in the newly-formed Two Rivers 3A.
Smithfield-Selma was winless against East Wake in the previous four-plus seasons of conference play.
Going forward: Both teams continue their out-of-conference play as East Wake plays host to Bunn on Tuesday while Smithfield-Selma travels to Leesville Road on Dec. 4.