Marlon Lee didn't want his Clayton girls' basketball team to have to play against West Johnston's zone.
And the coach made his point several times on Friday night by having the Comets hold the ball near midcourt.
West coach Laura Jefferson really didn't want to run with the Comets anyway, so it made for an interesting chess match. But when the Wildcats did bring defenders out, freshman Asia Todd made them pay.
Todd finished with 27 points, seven rebounds and four assists to lead her team to a 53-44 Greater Neuse River 4A girls' basketball win and a sweep of the season series.
In the boys' game, the Wildcats were able to hang on for a while, but once things got rolling the Comets were just too good and ran away to a 75-51 decision.
Stall ball lifts Comet girls to sweep
The Comets (7-13, 2-8) avoided any possibility of finishing in the conference cellar with the win.
Endaisha Howard finished with 10 points for the Comets, who had won the teams' earlier meeting 46-40 in overtime on Jan. 8.
"They have good guards and we were able to be aware of what they were defensively," Lee said. "We just tried to get a lead, and then make them have to guard us man-to-man. When we held the ball we were able to shorten the game and have more energy in the second half."
Senior Christian Sanders, who is getting offers to play in the Division III USA South Conference next season, tied Todd for game-high scoring honors with 24. She now has 1,028 career points.
West fell to 2-10, 0-12 in conference play.
"We were glad they held the ball," Jefferson said. "We were just talking about taking time off the clock. We have a hard time keeping up with their guards because they are so quick."
Clayton led 11-10 after one quarter and then 26-18 at the half after holding the ball for two minutes at the end of the second.
"I felt like our execution was really good," Todd said. "We held the ball to save time. I feel like we're doing well, but sometimes we have trouble finishing games."
Clayton led 46-29 before Sanders led a 2 1/2-minute spree in which the Wildcats went on a 15-7 run.
"It was great getting my thousandth point the other night," Sanders said. "We worked hard tonight. What I liked tonight was that we kept staying in the game and won the last few minutes."
Comets boys bounce back
Tre Armstead poured in 26 points as the Comets recovered from a hard-fought loss to Garner three nights earlier for the easy victory.
The Comets (17-5, 9-3), who won the previous boys' meeting 76-47 on Jan. 8, have won 13 straight in the series.
"We just want to play better every time out," Clayton coach Denny Medlin said. "We know West Johnston is going to keep competing. I thought our guys did a good job of not taking it lightly and just playing a good game."
West (0-22, 0-12) last had a winning boys' season in 2009-10 when the team went 12-10.
"We've got a bunch of fighters on this team," West coach Scotty Williams said. "They're a great group of guys and have never given up."
Clayton led 19-13 after one period before sprinting to a 42-26 advantage at the break.
"We just have to stay motivated," Armstead said. "Garner was a good team and it was a tough loss. I didn't play very well in that game. We just know we have to keep playing well to stay in second place in the conference."
The young Wildcats have had things tough all season, as all of the losses have been by double digits.
"We just want to keep fighting hard every time," Holmes said. "If we aren't able to win, we just want to play a good game and keep it as close as we can."