High School Sports

Smithfield-Selma boys make big statement in win over West Johnston

West Johnston’s Ryan Holmes (3) drives to the basket as teammate Jalen Langley (32) and Jason Bryant (23) trail the play.
West Johnston’s Ryan Holmes (3) drives to the basket as teammate Jalen Langley (32) and Jason Bryant (23) trail the play. newsobserver.com

It didn’t take long for the Smithfield-Selma boys basketball team to grab its opening game against West Johnston by the horns and once it did, it didn’t let go until the Spartans secured a 66-30 victory to start off its season on the right note.

Smithfield-Selma dictated the speed at which the game would be played from the opening moments when Malik Frazier gained control after the opening tip and found Raequan Smith for a layup less than five seconds into the game.

The Spartans built a 25-7 lead after one quarter and a 48-14 advantage by halftime.

“We came out and played with a lot of energy, effort and enthusiasm and no matter who was in, it was there, “ said Smithfield-Selma coach Matt Cuddington. “Playing up-tempo is just how we want to play. We like to gamble a lot—it will either work or it won’t. Luckily it worked (tonight).”

Turning point

The first four minutes and 30 seconds saw the Spartans storm out to an 18-0 lead and set the tone for the entire game.

Three who mattered

Ryan Holmes, West Johnston: Holmes led all Wildcats with seven points and often got into the lane on dribble penetration as he proved to be West Johnston’s most dangerous offensive weapon.

Raequan Smith, Smithfield-Selma: Smith had four points within the game’s first 20 seconds and 17 by halftime. In an up-tempo game, Smith was in control the entire time.

Josh Raiford, Smithfield-Selma: Raiford was two boards shy of a double double as he ended with 11 points and eight rebounds. His presence in the middle also altered many West Johnston shots in the paint.

They said it

“It’s going to teach us who we are,” West Johnston coach Scotty Williams said. “Who we are as a team needs to be methodical and choosy about when we get up and down the floor. We need to be able to play smart basketball, take some time and run some clock.”

Highlight Reel

With 2:42 left in the second quarter, Smithfield-Selma freshman Isaiah Watson announced his arrival on a rim-rattling, double-handed dunk that gave the Spartans a 44-10 lead. The dunk came on the heels of a West Johnston turnover generated by the relentless full court pressure applied by the Spartans.

By the Numbers

5: Assists dished out by Smithfield-Selma senior guard Malik Frazier.

1: Remaining players from Wildcats’ top six scorers from a season ago (Holmes).

10: Spartan players who scored during the game.

11: Wildcat turnovers in the first quarter alone.

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