A tough early season schedule has made the Neuse Charter boys basketball team battle-tested but it’s the great chemistry the team has developed that might be more the reason why all signs seem to point towards a possible run at a Carolina 1A Conference title.
The Cougars looked every bit ready Thursday night in running past Princeton 85-50.
Neuse Charter (7-4 overall, 2-0 conference) had three players score at least 20 points with the Cougars using their speed in the transition game to their favor by getting a lot of easy baskets before the Bulldogs’ solid half-court defense could get in position.
“This is our first time ever going into the Christmas break being 2-0 so we’ve got ourselves an early foothold there,” Neuse Charter coach Jimmie Sanders said. “This team is really together. They really love each other, they play for each other and off the court they care for each other so on the court, that’s starting to translate.”
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Princeton’s Earl Gibson had the unenviable task of defending Neuse Charter’s standout point guard Jimmie Sanders III for much of the game but still had enough in the tank to lead the Bulldogs with 14 points.
The second quarter saw the Cougars extend their lead from a humble five-point advantage to 23 points by halftime thanks to some hot shooting from the perimeter. Conner Pulley hit three long range shots in the second quarter alone and Byron Addison drained a three-pointer as well.
They said it
“I don’t know what defense I can guard them in,” joked Princeton coach Jeff Davis. “If I go zone, they’ve got three or four shooters. If I go man, Jimmie’s (Sanders) eyes are going to light up. I don’t know what the answer is…I think the biggest answer’s got to be we can’t make any mistakes ourselves.”
Three who mattered
Jimmie Sanders III, Neuse Charter: Sanders is the engine that makes the Cougars go and the junior point guard was in his usual form Thursday night leading the break, beating defenders off the dribble and finding the open shooters. Sanders finished with 20 points and 11 assists.
Byron Addison, Neuse Charter: Addison led the Cougars with 25 points, going 3-of-7 from three-point range but also had his mid-range game working as well.
Conner Pulley, Neuse Charter: Pulley was in the zone for much of the game, as he connected on 7-of-13 from three-point range for 21 points.
Not often does a double-double performance fall under the radar but Devante Stevens’ 12-point, 10-rebound output may have done just that Thursday night.
By the Numbers
8: Points scored by Princeton’s Grey McCoy as well as Austin Sullivan.
11: Three-point shots made out of 23 attempts for the visiting Cougars.
31: Points Neuse Charter put on the scoreboard in the second quarter