Garner was coming off a tough loss and missing a key big man when the Trojans took the floor against a good Leesville Road team on Tuesday night.
But the defending state 4A champions were firing on all cylinders, at least as consistently as a team can do this early in the season.
Junior guard Thomas Allen scored 20 points to lead three players in double figures, as the Trojans pulled away in the second quarter en route to an 81-63 romp over the Pride.
The win, which took some of the sting off a four-point loss home loss to Cary on Thursday night, improved the Trojans to 2-1 while the Pride fell to 1-2.
Alex Reed added 16 points and nine rebounds for Garner, while Nick Kuhns added 15. The Trojans were playing without injured sophomore center Kenyon Burt.
“We’ve been playing excellent basketball games,” veteran Trojan coach Eddie Gray said. “Kenyon has had double-doubles in our first two games, but we got really good bench play tonight. We let it get away for a while at the end of the third quarter, but for the most part I was pleased. We want to play up-tempo, and if you score against us we want to press your defense.”
Ben Zemonek led the hosts with 16 points while Jonathan Mebane added 14.
They said it
“We scheduled Garner because we want to beat Garner,” Leesville Road coach Russ Frazier said. “But we played very emotionless ansd effortless tonight. As a coach, I’ll take the blame for that one. We had a rough second quarter. But we should be able to plah with them. We just have to play better than we did tonight.”
The second quarter, when the Trojans outscored the hosts 27-10. Davon Newton’s alley-oop dunk from Thomas Allen at 7:27 put the Trojans up 18-14 and started a 6-0 run.
Garner ended the period with a 10-1 run, with three of the points coming from Allen.
Three who mattered
Thomas Allen, Garner: The junior guard scored 20 points with four assists and three steals.
“We played more as a team, and our bench play was really good tonight,” Allen said. “They turned the game around for us in the second quarter.”
Nick Kuhns, Garner: The senior wing and captain scored 15 points, including seven in the first quarter to get the Trojans off on the right foot.
“I have been in the gym every day getting repetition and getting better at ballhandling,” Kuhns said. “I needed to because I was moving to the ‘two’ spot. And we’ve had a lot of young guys step up for us. This definitely boosts our team confidence.”
Ben Zemonek, Leesville Road: The senior wing led the Pride with 16 points and had six rebounds.
“We need better effort than we had tonight,” Zemonek said. “Garner is good at getting up and down the floor, and they had a lot of energy which we lacked. And I need to show better leadership.”
By the numbers
9: Rebounds for Reed.
11: Total steals (6) and assists (5) for Garner’ sophomore guard Marque Maultsby.
14: Points for Mebane.
15: Points for Kuhns.
16: Points for Zemonek and Reed.
20: Points for Allen.
27: Garner’s biggest lead, at 55-28 on an Andrew Abrom free throw with 3:06 left in the third.
Leesville Road’s next game is at home on Dec. 1 against Middle Creek, which visits Garner on Dec. 2 in the Trojans’ next home contest.