High School Sports

Depth clinches boys basketball win for Clayton over Knightdale

Clayton's Tre Armstead (3) drives between the Knightdale's Cole Johnson (5) and Dondre Griffin in a Greater Neuse River Conference boys basketball game in Knightdale, N.C. Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015. The Comets won 77-66.
Clayton's Tre Armstead (3) drives between the Knightdale's Cole Johnson (5) and Dondre Griffin in a Greater Neuse River Conference boys basketball game in Knightdale, N.C. Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015. The Comets won 77-66. amoody@newsobserver.com

One superstar carried Knightdale on Tuesday night.

But Clayton responded with a well-oiled machine.

And the machine won.

Dondre Griffin poured in a career-high 36 points including seven 3-pointers, but the Comets responded with four double-figure scorers to claim a 77-66 win in Greater Neuse River 4A boys’ basketball.

Clayton improved to 8-1 on the season and 3-0 in GNRC play, while Knightdale fell to 8-2 and 2-1.

“We played a complete game on both sides of the ball, and I was really happy with our ball movement,” Clayton coach Denny Medlin said. “Everyone played his role. We had an awfully hard time defending Griffin. He’s just a tremendous player. They don’t give out Division I scholarships for nothing.”

Tre Armstead led the Comets with 19 points while Darrius Stevens chipped in 15 points and 13 rebounds.

The Comets took a 26-7 lead on a Kenny Williams 3-pointer with 6:22 left in the first half, and the Knights were never again closer than 14 points.

Clayton shot 47.4 percent from the floor to Knightdale’s 44.6. The Comets won the rebound battle 30-27, and committed 14 turnovers to Knightdale’s 21.

They said it

“We didn’t value the basketball in the first quarter,” Knightdale coach Anthony Byrd said. “We only had four turnovers in the second half. We just had a bad mindset in the beginning, and Clayton was more ready to play than we were.”

Turning point

Clayton went on a 13-2 run at the start of the second quarter to take a 26-9 lead.

Three who mattered

Dondre Griffin, Knightdale: The senior guard finished with the career-high 36 points and six rebounds.

“I’ll take the blame for that first quarter,” said Grifffin, who is signed with Murray State after getting 32 Division I offers. “I got two early fouls, and as soon as I did they started pressing and we started turning the ball over.”

Tre Armstead, Clayton: The senior guard scored 19 points.

“Everything starts with defense,” Armstead said. “We’re trusting each other and going hard on every possession. We know we just have to keep working hard in each practice.”

Darius Stevens, Clayton: The senior guard finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds.

“We did a good job of boxing out and playing hard,” Stevens said. “Beating a good team like this on the road was really important for us.”

By the numbers

5: Knightdale points in the first quarter.

10: Points from Clayton’s Martavis McLamb.

17: Points from Clayton’s Kenny Williams.

17: Knightdale turnovers in the first half.

Looking ahead

Knightdale hosts Southeast Raleigh on Thursday night, while Clayton hosts Garner.

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