Dunn Middle’s basketball teams won an exciting pair of games Monday night against Shughart. The girls got their very first win of the season 25-15, and the boys overcame a late surge by the Blackhawks to win 52-42.
Girls get first win
The Lady Greenwaves set the tone early, outscoring Shughart 10-4 in the first quarter thanks to baskets in the final minute from Stephanie Davis and Reagan Adams. The Blackhawks cut the lead to 11-8 in the second quarter, but again Davis stepped up and knocked down a pair of shots in the final 20 seconds to make it 15-8 at halftime. After both teams went cold in the third quarter and scored just two points each, Davis scored the opening basket of the fourth to make it 19-10.
“Stephanie hit a lot of big shots for us today,” said Dunn girls’ coach Sarah Wells. “She played really hard and I was happy to see her do so well.”
Davis led the way for the Greenwaves (1-6) with eight points. Sixth-grade point guard JaNiah Smith also had a strong game with seven points. Smith displayed great ballhandling skills all game and dished out some nice assists. Even though Davis and Smith were the smallest two players on the court, they were arguably the most impressive.
“I had heard rumors about Janiah before she got here,” Wells said. “She is probably the most humble athlete that I have worked with. She’s unselfish, and she’s eager for her teammates to do just as well as she does. She’s just a great player, it’s really a joy to coach her.”
Adams had four points, all in the first quarter to get the Greenwaves going. And Chyna Massey had four points and Kele Bell had two points in the final minute to seal the win.
It’s been a tough season, but the girls celebrated the win in style, with plenty of hugs to go around for everyone. The team could be heard chanting from well outside of the locker room.
We just played together as a team today,” Wells said. “We have to keep this up — the enthusiasm. That kind of positive energy, it’s only going to help us going forward.”
Boys battle late
Dunn led most of the way in the boys’ game, but after a late push by Shughart the Greenwaves found themselves down 36-31 midway through the fourth quarter.
“We really controlled most of the game,” Dunn boys’ coach John Gage said. “That was really the first time we had faced any adversity. It would have been really easy for them to shut down and fold over.”
But they didn’t fold. Instead they cut into the lead with a pair of free throws from Anthony Jones, making it 36-33 with 3:48 left. Gage called a timeout and delivered a simple message to his team.
“I just told them, ‘All we need is a stop and a score, a stop and a score,’” Gage said.
And that’s what they did. After forcing a turnover, Jaeshawn Murchison scored in transition. Then Dunn retook the lead on a 3-pointer by Quenton Mangum. The Greenwaves pushed the lead to 44-36 with 1:45 to go on an old-fahsioned 3-point play by Murchison, who posted 11 points in the fourth quarter.
“He’s going to be a really good player,” Gage said of Murchison. “The thing we keep working on with him is to try to get him to be more assertive. Because really, he’s capable of doing that whenever he wants to, he just picks and chooses when he does it. But he has a very high basketball IQ, and he can do a lot of things for his size.”
Shughart closed the gap to 46-42, but Barrington Kerr closed out the game with a pair of free throws and a rare 4-point play to give the game its final margin.
Murchison led all scorers with 18 points to go with 17 rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks. Kerr added 11 points. Jones had six points and five rebounds. Mangum also added six points on a pair of 3-pointers. Torrey Williams had five points, Chandler Miles had four points and Carter Daughtry had two points. Ross Stevens and Zack Winters also made solid contributions on the boards with eight and four rebounds respectively.
“I’m really proud of the way we battled back tonight,” Gage said. “I think it showed that we have some mental toughness, we just have to come out and play with a little more intensity on the front end.”
The Greenwaves moved to 6-1 on the season and are in first place in the Harnett County Conference.