RALEIGH — Pity the poor boys’ basketball teams from East Wake and Southeast Raleigh for having to follow the previous act Friday night.
The Warriors and the host Bulldogs had to wait through a classic girls’ game that took three overtimes and had three power blackouts, following an overtime decision in the boys’ junior varsity contest. So with their tipoff after 10 p.m., they got five minutes to warm up and a five-minute halftime.
Sophomore Quincy Jackson led the way with 22 points and 10 rebounds as the visitors handled the adversity a little better, escaping with a 48-46 victory to split the season series.
“We spread the offense out this time,” East coach Darrin Stinson said. “We’ve got a set we call ‘high’ where we bring the ball above the free-throw line. We’re just slowing the ball down and being patient, trying to take our opponents out of their game. It’s been working. We held Clayton to 53 points (in a seven-point loss) and now Southeast to 46.”
Putting Up Numbers: Josh McLean had 10 points for East (7-14, 5-7 Greater Neuse River 4A).
William Walker led the Bulldogs (10-7, 6-3) with 16 points while Myles Harris and Justin Morris chipped in 10 each.
Turning Point: Southeast led 31-24 with 6:09 left in the third and looked to be pulling away. But suddenly came a 9-0 Warrior run – with five points from McLean and four from Jackson – that put East ahead to stay.
“We just really spaced the court out and fed the ball inside more compared to when we played them before,” Jackson said. “We took better shots and rebounded better, too.”
History Shows: East and Southeast have split their regular-season games for three straight seasons, and nobody has won a home game in the series during that span.
Southeast had drubbed the host Warriors 65-48 on Jan. 4.
“It was a tough night in general,” Bulldog coach John Baker said. “My biggest thing was trying to keep our guys calm and focused and mentally prepared to play. East Wake shot free throws better than we did, and that was the difference in the game.”
Feeling the Impact: The win put the Warriors into a tie for fifth place in the conference standings.
If they win their final two games against the bottom two teams in the standings – Smithfield-Selma and West Johnston – they will get a bid to the state tournament as long as nobody seeded below them wins the conference tourney.
Best Quote: Despite thousands of coaches’ quotes in the past, it isn’t always good for a team to hit the court hungry.
“I think we just ran out of gas at the end of the game,” Walker said. “We just got tired and East Wake kept playing. I think playing so late hurt us. Neither team had eaten in a long time, and I think East Wake just handled the situation better.”