The Wake Forest boys’ basketball team traveled to rival Rolesville and notched a 67-64 win, its first of the season, behind a balanced scoring attack and good defensive execution.
The Cougars (1-1) went into halftime ahead 38-33 and used an 8-1 run to begin the third quarter, pushing the lead to 12. But the Rams (0-3) rallied with 14 unanswered points to finish the period, punctuated by a Volante Carroll two-hand flush with just seconds remaining.
The fourth quarter saw a back and forth match between two talented teams, but Wake Forest’s defense came up with three big plays. Around the 1:25 mark, Isaiah Jones created a steal, which led to two free throws. Theo Howard took a key charge with 1:08 to go. Then Jones, whose assignment Jamaal Farrar had an open layup, came from behind for the block.
“It was really not a good defensive play, and he got beat down the floor, but at least he had the mental capacity to catch up and make the block,” said Wake Forest coach Todd Seymour.
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Prior to the boys game, Rolesville’s girls defeated Wake Forest 60-53.
The steal that Jones forced with 1:25 left helped Wake Forest increase its lead to four points. After Rolesville leading scorer Ricky Clemons made several plays in the fourth quarter, the Cougars defense looked for ways to slow him down. Off a screen, Jones trapped, stole the ball, and Demetrius Everett eventually earned and hit two free throws.
“We had to do something to get the ball out of Clemons’ hands on the ball screen,” Seymour said. “So we decided to trap him on that one and get it out of his hands. We did a good job of coming away with that.”
They said it
“This team showed a little resiliency tonight by how they came back in the fourth quarter,” Seymour said. “When we went up 12, I thought we were going to be able to put them away and credit to Rolesville, they had a nice run and took the lead. Our guys settled down and they got back into it.”
Three who mattered
Isaiah Jones, Wake Forest: Jones had three massive blocks in addition to 15 points. Off one of those big dunks in the third quarter. Jones hit a three on the subsequent possession.
Ricky Clemons, Rolesville: Clemons led his squad with 23 points, a balanced effort throughout the night. By quarter, he had eight, five, three and seven points. Wake Forest’s defense really keyed in on Clemons down the stretch trying to slow him down.
Theo Howard, Wake Forest: Howard had the biggest play of the night, but he was a key scorer for the Cougars. He led the team with 10 points after the first quarter and finished with 16. His two free throws with half a second remaining helped seal the win.
Toward the end of the first quarter, Wake Forest’s Jones came up with a huge block on one end that turned into instant offense for his team. The ball ended up in Howard’s hands, and he sprung for a massive tomahawk dunk over a Rolesville defender.