The Southeast Raleigh girls held off a stubborn Greater Neuse River 4A Conference rival Rolesville, but it was the Rolesville boys who rallied for an overtime win on a night that belonged to retiring Southeast basketball coach John Baker.
Before the varsity boys’ game, Baker was honored in a ceremony.
Baker, who Southeast athletic director Keith Boddie called “the original Bulldog,” has been the varsity boys’ basketball coach since the school opened in the fall of 1997. During that time, he has also been a lot more than a coach to many people. Baker grew up in Raleigh, played basketball and graduated from Sanderson in 1980 and coached Apex High before Southeast opened.
“‘Bake’ was part of the planning committee for this school in 1995 and 1996 and was one of the first two people hired here,” Broddie said “He’s been a big part of this community and school. He’s been the mentor for a lot of young men who have come through here. He’s taught them a lot and he’s taught me a lot. And he hasn’t lost one bit of his fire.
“Whether on the court, in the classroom or in the community he’s still got it.”
Baker did not know about the ceremony. Southeast planned it with the cooperation of Rolesville athletics director and basketball coach Tommy Moore, an Enloe graduate who played against Baker in high school.
“It’s hard to shock me, but this was a total surprise,” Baker said. “It was really nice. With Tommy, there’s a lot of love there. He’s like me, he loves the kids and he loves coaching.”
Moore said high school basketball will miss Baker.
“It’s been great what he’s done for the kids and also what he’s done for other coaches,” Moore said.
Bulldogs girls overcome a slow start
The Southeast girls are tied for first in the league. They expect to win and pulled away in the fourth quarter to defeat the Rams 56-45.
Rolesville (10-10, 5-5 GNRC) has come a long way in its third year as a school. Two years ago the Rams were 0-22. Last year, they finished 10-14.
Junior Jaylin Powell (19 points) led the Rams to an early 16-5 lead and the visitors led 25-24 midway the third period. But Southeast led 33-29 entering the final period and steadily increased the lead.
“We didn’t get off to a good start, but we got it together,” said Southeast sophomore Jada McMillian (10 points), who also started last year. “In games like this we have confidence in our defense and trust each other.”
Kia Abrams had a big game in the post with 18 points and 14 rebounds, while freshman Tamia Davis scored 13.
Ricky Clemons leads Rolesville boys
It looked like the Bulldogs were going to pull out a win for Baker, but Rams sophomore Ricky Clemons took over in the final minute of regulation and and in overtime in the Rams’ 48-40 win.
Clemons drove to the basket and banked in a short left-handed shot and followed that with a free throw to tie the score at 37-37 with just 13 seconds left to force overtime. Then in overtime he scored seven more points and had an assist as the Rams wrapped up the win.
“This was a huge win for us,” Moore said. “We had the lead, they took it away, but we didn’t quit and Ricky Clemons made some very big plays.”
Messiah Harvin-Cleveland scored 13 for Rolesville and Jamaal Farrar added 11.