To say the Cary Christian boys basketball team was ready for its showdown at Grace Christian Raleigh on Friday night would be an understatement. The Knights scored the first 10 points of the game, took a 39-12 lead into intermission and went on to rout the Eagles 80-39 to improve to 8-8 overall and 2-0 in the NCISAA Eastern Plains Independent Conference.
Grace Christian, which drew the closest it would get in the contest at 12-5 on baskets by Alvar Hernandez and Andrew Morrow, fell to 2-10 (0-2).
Caleb Ellis sizzled in the second quarter, collecting a steal and following with a dunk that energized the Knights contingent and impressed his coach.
“That was a spectacular play,” said Bill Thompson. “I’ve been telling him to take it right to the basket when he has the opportunity to and he did so there.”
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Ellis said his team draws up plays for moments like that.
“We’ve got a couple of plays drawn up to take advantage of those opportunities when they become available,” Ellis said.
As strong as the Knights’ offensive play was, Ellis said he was more impressed with their effort on the other end of the court.
“Coach has us ready and we’ve been working on our defense a great deal in practice,” Ellis said. “It was a team effort.”
It continued in the second half, as Grace Christian pounded the ball down low for a 7-2 scoring run.
Despite using its reserves generously, the Knights closed out the contest on an 11-0 run for the final margin, with Devin Dukes knocking down a 3-pointer.
Grace Christian coach Adam Parrott admitted his team was overmatched.
“We missed a lot of shots, which you can’t do against a great team like that,” Parrott said. “We’ve got kinks to work out and they’re just better than we are right now.”
Cary Christian girls pull away
Grace Smith and Marie Thompson scored 16 points each as the Cary Christian girls basketball team pulled away in the second half for a 62-41 win at Grace Christian.
Smith scored on a key drive to the basket and hit a pair of clutch free throws in the third quarter as the Knights turned a one-point halftime deficit (25-24) into a 41-31 lead.
Cary Christian expanded its lead to 18 points in the fourth quarter as Smith and Thompson continued to excel. Makenna Lagaly added 13 points for the victors, who improved to 9-8 (3-0).
Smith, who scored 29 points in a recent game, said experience is paying off for her.
“I’ve been playing basketball since six and I’ve also played for coach (Shelly Holmes) for several years now too,” Smith said. “She encourages me to keep shooting and in the second half tonight especially my shot started to fall.”
Olivia Grace Horan led Grace Christian (3-14, 1-2) with 13 points, while teammate Carol-Anne Obusek added 11. The Eagles entered the game on a two-game win streak, outscoring opponents 92-13.