The finish was worth the wait for the Creek Crazies.
Regulation wasn’t enough in Friday’s boys basketball between Holly Springs and Middle Creek, before Shammond Hicks took over. Hicks scored eight of his team’s 11 points in the extra period as Middle Creek salvaged a split in the varsity games, winning 78-68.
The Golden Hawks’ girls forced 32 turnovers and held the Mustangs to 17.1 percent shooting in a 49-20 victory.
Hicks takes over
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Though the boys’ teams came in with a combined 5-10 record, fans were treated to some terrific basketball, especially in the second half. The lead changed hands six times in the third quarter before a Hicks 3-pointer tied the game at 55 with three seconds left in the period.
The teams swapped the lead six more times in the fourth, but Jordan Brown’s 27th point, a free throw, tied the game at 66 for the Hawks.
In overtime, guards Hicks (25 points) and Jordan Johnson (16) stepped up. Johnson drilled a 3 on the Mustangs’ first possession for a quick 69-66 edge.
“Two years on JV, he probably made four or five 3-pointers,” Middle Creek coach David Kushner said. “He’s really, really worked on his game.”
With the lead, the Mustangs spread the floor, and Holly Springs was unable to stop Hicks. He scored on two drives for a 73-68 lead, then hit two free throws and a fastbreak basket to wrap it up for Middle Creek (4-4, 2-1 Southwest Wake Athletic Conference).
“In a one-on-one drill we were working on yesterday, Shammond pretty much scored at will,” Kushner said “He’s always been fast, but now he understands how to use his quickness. He’s finishing much better. To have a player like that that when a team has to pressure you can get to the basket whenever he wants, it’s a pretty awesome thing to have.”
After missing only nine shots through four quarters, Holly Springs (2-7, 1-3) went 0-for-7 in overtime, scoring only two points on free throws.
“My guys laid it all out on the line during regulation,” Hawks coach Richard Young said. “They were fighting and battling but got a little worn down in overtime. They got a little discouraged when some calls weren’t going their way, and I just feel for them. They played their butts off tonight. It’s the best we’ve played all year, and to not get the win, I just feel for them.”
Holly Springs hit 25 of 34 shots in regulation but finished the game with 27 turnovers.
Holly Springs girls still in 1st
The Middle Creek girls rallied from an 8-0 deficit to beat Cary on Wednesday, but the Mustangs couldn’t come back against a more athletic Holly Springs team. The Hawks (7-2, 4-0) jumped to a 17-0 lead and used their defense to bury Middle Creek.
“Normally when we come here, we don’t have a good game,” Holly Springs coach Peace Easton said. “We didn’t have a good game again, but it was enough to win. We’ve been having off-nights, basically all week, when it comes to offense. But I keep telling them defense does win games if they create turnovers, create steals. The layups will eventually fall after we create the turnovers.”
And this from a team, Easton said, that doesn’t like to press.
“I don’t think they understand how good they are when it comes to steals,” Easton said. “We’ve got to take advantage of it. In the long run, they’ll get it.”
Nothing went right for Middle Creek. The Mustangs (3-6, 2-2) didn’t score until midway through the second quarter, and missed 10 of 16 free throws.
“One of those games where you scratch your head and throw your hands up and say, ‘What else can go wrong?’” Middle Creek coach Wes Petty said. “They jumped on us, they came out aggressive, and I was disappointed in the fact that we backed down. I know we’re a better team than we put on the floor tonight.
“We turned the ball over all over the place, we didn’t rebound aggressively, we didn’t play well against their pressure in the man, and there was a lid on the hoop for us. Layups, free throws, jump shots – we were in another world tonight. It just wasn’t on the right planet.”