Dec 27, 2012
The basketball started bouncing early in Cary Academy's gym Thursday morning, and Holly Springs used solid defense and several big runs to down the homestanding Lady Chargers in the first consolation semifinal of the Mix 101.5 Girls Bracket.
Playing with the defensive intensity they lacked in Wednesday's opening day loss to Broughton, the Lady Hawks raced out to a 11-1 lead in the first quarter and put the game away with a 10-2 spurt to start the second half. Holly Springs head coach Richard Young said the formula for his team to win is simple.
"They came out this morning, really early, and stepped up the intensity," he said. ""It was because of our defensive intensity that we got the win. That was something we didn't have in the first half of the game last night."
Against Broughton, Holly Springs rallied in the second half only to lose 62-60. On Thursday, the Lady Hawks cruised through much of the fourth quarter by hitting foul shots and scoring win necessary to keep their lead in double digits.
Kiara Leslie continued her impressive Holiday Invitational, scoring 18 points and 11 rebounds. On Wednesday, she poured in 29 and grabbed 10 boards.
"It's a personal goal, and it's something I'm expected to do so I just have to go out and do it," Leslie said of the double-double.
Guard Linnea Hoops and forward Madison Perry joined Leslie in double figures, scoring 12 points each. Two other players scored nine points for Holly Springs, who remained balanced throughout.
In the deciding 10-2 run midway through the third quarter, four players scored. Young said his team is learning how he wants them to play heading into the heart of its season.
"Linnea Hoops didn't shoot the ball a lot last night, but she made three 3-pointers in the first half today," he said. "That's her job, that's her role and she did that today for us."
Hoops and Leslie both pointed to defense, not offense, as the reason for Thursday's improved play.
"We have to start off every game like we did today," Leslie said. "We didn't do that yesterday, and it's why we lost to Broughton."
Cary Academy was led once again by Mickayla Sanders, who finished with 25 points. No other Chargers finished in double figures. Despite that, Cary Academy trailed by just four points at the break and closed to within one point in the opening minute of the third quarter.
With the win, Holly Springs secured a trip to the 5th place game against the East Wake-Rocky Mount winner. That game is schedule to tip at 12:30 p.m. Friday at Cary Academy. The Chargers will play in the 7th place game Friday morning at 11 a.m. against the East Wake-Rocky Mount loser.
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