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SMITHFIELD — Caught in a tie at 30 at halftime, the Neuse Charter boys basketball team took over in the second half to beat East Wake Academy 80-65 in the season-opener on Friday.
"The way we did, it was relieving because we didn't know what to expect," head coach Dustin Squibb said after his team's first game of the season. "The kids played hard and we were fortunate to knock down shots."
The Cougars were led by Jacob Denton with 18 points, followed by Salah Tucker with 16, Sire Holmes with 13 and Aidan Phillips with 10. Jamir Ledbetter added seven points, while Eli Ayers contributed five and Tommy Noles, Colin Danielson, Wyatt Daughtry and Corey McGee chipped in two each.
The defense held strong in the second half, while the offense overcame the Eagles' top scorer Charlie Whiltley, who scored a game-high 23 points.
Neuse Charter will travel to Wayne Christian on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Lady Cougars triumph
Playing earlier in the night, the Neuse Charter girls basketball team also captured a season-opening victory over East Wake Academy, beating the Lady Eagles 50-29.
Daja Staton led the Cougars with 12 points, while Dargan Harris pitched in 11. Delaney Harris added nine points and Anna Taylor contributed eight points.
The Neuse Charter girls basketball team will play next at Wayne Christian at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday.