Knightdale’s girls and boys both raced out to big leads at Garner Friday night but just the girls could build on its early success and take a Greater Neuse River 4A Conference win, 60-35.
Coach Anthony Byrd’s boys jumped on the defending state 4A champion Trojans 17-2 but the Trojans rallied to lead by halftime and pulled away for an 87-70 win.
Garner clinched the GNRC title outright with the win.
Juniors Prichard and Bowens lead Knightdale girls
Knightdale (16-3, 10-2) led 17-5 after the first quarter and never looked back while staying near the top of the league standings. Both league losses have come to Southeast Raleigh.
“We set goals and number one is to win the conference,” Knightdale coach Trent Bunn said. “We take it one day and one game at a time, whether we have a game, practice, watching film, study hall, whatever.”
By the end of the game junior post player Zee Brown had 21 points and 21 rebounds. Melody Prichard, also a junior, was sick this week and sat out the first quarter, but added 18 points and junior Jessica Parker scored 11 from the outside.
“That’s why we call her 20-20,” Bunn said of Brown. “Parker’s a shooter and Melody played well after being sick this week.”
Perimeter player Nia Jackson led the Trojans with 12 points.
Trojans boys stay undefeated in the league.
Garner’s boys have the conference championship wrapped up entering next week’s finals two games of the regular season, but had to withstand a strong opening flurry by the Knights.
The Trojans are 20-2 overall and 12-0 in the league, while Knightdale is 16-6 and 8-4. Majesty Wilder’s 3-pointer with 4:10 to play in the first quarter stretched the Knights’ lead to 20-4 but
Garner outscored the visitors 14-2 over the next four minutes and 23-12 in the second quarter to take a 41-34 lead at halftime.
“It was just a rough start, real sluggish,” said Garner’s Alex Reed who scored 27 points in the win. “I don’t know why but we’ve had bad starts in the last two games. But then defense gets us started.”
Reed and Thomas Allen (23 points) combined for the first 13 Garner points of the third quarter, but Knightdale stayed within striking distance, trailing just 56-50 entering the final period.
“Knightdale is an extemely athletic team and was up for the game,” Garner coach Eddie Gray said.
“We kind of walked through the first part of the first quarter, not playing good defense and settling for and taking stupid shots. And they were shooting extremely well. After that we played better defense and we were able to get the ball inside more, took better shots.
“We also got a boost off the bench from Javonte Sims and Omari Harris,” Gray said. “That’s something this team has done.”
Garner’s Kenyon Burt scored 10 and pulled 13 rebounds.
For Knightdale, Dondre Griffin led his team with 19 and Jordan Shannon scored 17.
“We knew the key was to be patient and we started that way,” coach Byrd said. “But Garner is a doggone good team and we knew they would make a run. But I liked the way my team played hard. Jordan played a great game, he played hard.
“We’re still in the top two or three in the conference. We’re battling Clayton which is doing a great job too.”