Stallions, Pride split on the hardwood
Since SanLee Middle School led its Lee-Harnett Athletic Conference game against city rival West Lee by double digits most of the way, it didn't look like an upset.
The host Stallions though had lost to the Pride by 25 points in the squads' first meeting this season and the Pride were undefeated before SanLee got a 47-33 win over West Lee Thursday evening.
The Stallions raced out to a 12-4 lead by the end of the first quarter and led by as much as 43-21 after a 9-0 run early in the fourth quarter.
In the girls' game at SanLee, the Lady Pride took a season sweep over the Lady Stallions. SanLee made it tough on the Lady Pride, especially in the early minutes, before West Lee pulled away for a 28-19 win.
Guard Cheyenne Ingram got the Lady Stallions out to a good start. She made both SanLee buckets in the first six minutes for a 4-3 lead. Combining jumpers from the wing with drives inside, Ingram made two more hoops early in the second period and SanLee held an 8-5 edge.
West Lee's defense kept Ingram and the Lady Stallions scoreless the rest of the half and a big finish to the half put the Pride ahead.
Meredith Mitchell drained a foul-line jumper putting West Lee ahead 9-8 with 1:17 and counting.
The Lady Pride beat SanLee's full-court press and Mya Minter converted a three-point play, with a tough lay-up plus the free throw, with 0:21 left.
Then with another defensive stop, West Lee rushed the ball down the court in time for Khaira Bolden to toss in a short shot at the buzzer putting the Lady Pride up 14-8 at halftime.
West Lee kept the momentum, mainly with its defensive effort, through the third period for a 22-10 lead going to the fourth. SanLee cut the lead to seven, 26-19, with 1:39 left in the game but couldn't get closer.
Minter led the Lady Pride with 12 points, six in each half, along with six rebounds and two assists. Bolden had six points and six rebounds. Jordyn Helsman and Jacie Arrington scored four points each. Buckets in the paint by Bolden and Arrington kept West Lee's lead safe in the fourth quarter.
Ingram finished with 13 points to lead the Lady Stallions and Cheria Squalls grabbed 12 rebounds.
SanLee jumped out to a big lead in the boys game and didn't let the Pride back into the game.
Jucobie Minter scored seven of the first nine Stallion points, including a pull-up jumper for a 9-2 SanLee lead. Darrius Sellers drained a corner three-pointer with a few seconds left in the first quarter and SanLee led 12-4.
The Stallions led 21-8 late in the second period and 23-11 at halftime. Minter led SanLee with nine points in the half.
Center Erik Hodge scored six points for the Pride in the half. SanLee shut everything else down though, including turning the tables on West Lee's usual pressing, trapping defense.
The Stallions opened the second half still on fire. Nate Thompson hit a 15-foot jumper, Minter turned a steal into a breakaway lay-up and Sellers made a short baseline jumper taking SanLee's lead to 29-11.
Back-to-back hoops by Hodge seemed to shift some of the momentum to West Lee, cutting the gap to 31-19 late in the third period, only for Wendell Hill to bury a three-pointer for the Stallions.
The Stallions rolled off nine points in a span of 1:03 for a 43-21 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Thompson led SanLee, which goes to a 6-2 record, with 14 points and seven rebounds. Minter scored 13 points. Sellers led the Stallions on the boards with 10 and Nokia Harrington added seven points and five assists.
Hodge led West Lee with 10 points. Elijah Rose had six points, eight rebounds and three assists.
SanLee will take on its other city rival, East Lee, at Lee County High School on Monday with the girls' game starting at 4 p.m. West Lee's next action is set for Thursday and home games against Shughart.