High School Sports

Southeast Raleigh rolls by East Wake in second round of girls basketball playoffs

Southeast Raleigh's Tamia Hicks (32) secures the ball against East Wake's Tamira Knuckles (12) and Alanah Mack (42). East Wake Warriors in the second round of the NCHSAA 4A Girls basketball playoffs in Raleigh, N.C. on February 23, 2017. Southeast Raleigh wins 68-28.
Southeast Raleigh's Tamia Hicks (32) secures the ball against East Wake's Tamira Knuckles (12) and Alanah Mack (42). East Wake Warriors in the second round of the NCHSAA 4A Girls basketball playoffs in Raleigh, N.C. on February 23, 2017. Southeast Raleigh wins 68-28. newsobserver.com

The Southeast Raleigh girls basketball team, the top-seeded team in the East, continued its strong playoff run Thursday night in the second round.

After a 50-point victory in the first round, the Bulldogs tacked on another blowout, rolling past East Wake 68-28 to advance to Saturday’s third round.

“We looked at our trends the past few games and noticed that our first and our third quarters were pretty weak,” Southeast coach Nicole Meyers said. “We didn’t start off strong at all. So we wanted to make a concerted effort to come out strong each half.”

Mission accomplished.

The Bulldogs (29-1) scored the first seven points of the game and were ahead 12-2 after just three minutes – finishing the period ahead 19-7. The Bulldogs started the second quarter with a 15-3 run and led 43-15 at halftime.

More of the same in the second half. The taller and quicker Bulldogs simply wore down the Warriors (18-9).

Southeast started the third period with a 12-4 spurt and led 55-25 at the end of three periods. And the Bulldogs capped the evening with a 10-0 run, holding the Warriors scoreless for the first six minutes of the period.

While her Bulldogs seem to be playing excellent basketball at the right time, Meyers isn’t taking anything for granted as Southeast chases a state title. They have lost to the eventual state champion the past three seasons – to Millbrook in the fourth round last year and to Charlotte’s Myers Park the two previous seasons in the state championship game.

“At this point, we are just taking it game by game,” Meyers said. “We know our ultimate goal is to get to that state championship game and win it but we know we can’t look past any round.”

For Meyers, who has a deep team that is a mix of veterans and younger players, it’s about the Bulldogs. Not the opposition.

“We are not concerned with who we are playing next,” Meyers said. “If we play Southeast Raleigh basketball we stand a chance against anybody that we play.”

Rebounding and fastbreaks were the two biggest strengths on display for the Bulldogs against East Wake.

“They beat us a lot in transition and they outrebounded us,” East Wake coach Toni Dupree said. “Our post got in foul trouble and it hurt us in the long run, but like I told our girls, we still played hard.

“We did a great job of making it third far. Some people didn’t think we would make it this far. I am proud of my girls the way they competed this year.”

Tamira Knuckles led East Wake with 11 points.

Sophomore guard Tamia Davis led Southeast with a game-high 16 points, slashing to the basket for buckets and getting out on the fastbreak.

“Coach is trying to get me to go the hole more in games,” Davis said. “I’m trying to get better at it. I’m usually a shooter.”

No other Bulldogs scored in double figures but four players had at least six points and two more had five.

“The balanced scoring that you see has been a hallmark all year,” Meyers said. “We’ve had at least nine people score in every game and I think it says something.”

For the first two rounds of the playoffs, at least, it says that the Bulldogs are playing very good basketball.

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