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SMITHFIELD — The Neuse Charter girls basketball team dominated Hobbton in its second 1-A Carolina Conference victory, beating the Wildcats 41-18 by leading through defense.
While jumping out to a 20-plus point lead on the other end of the floor, the Cougars (3-2, 2-0) gave up just one basket in each of the first three quarters, a large enough lead to relax in the fourth.
“Tonight we finally got defense going in the second half like we’re supposed to....” head coach Robbie Taylor said. “The second half we got on them.”
The defense was effective because it consistently put the pressure on Hobbton (0-7) before halfcourt, leading to long stretches of scoring droughts for the Wildcats as they settled for low-percentage shots or turned the ball over.
“Tonight, we played in our 2-2-1 press, and it trapped the ball in the corner,” said freshman Anna Taylor, the leading scorer for the game with 16 points. “So we got a lot of steals off of it.”
Neuse Charter began the game on a 5-0 run, and went into halftime with a 15-point lead. In that first half, Anna Taylor and Lynsey Parrish each scored seven points, nearly matching the eventual point total of the Wildcats with just two players.
After halftime, the Cougars had their best offensive and defensive showing of the night, scoring 16 points and allowing just two, which came early into the second half.
In the second half, Anna Taylor shined. After spending much of the game searching for ways for her teammates to score, she charged forward to capture nine more points in the second half by taking relatively few shots.
“My team was getting me the ball a lot,” Anna Taylor said. “It was just up and down the court, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do every night you play and go with the same intensity.”
Taylor helped the Cougars put the game away. Lengthening out 14 more points in the third quarter to take a 27-point lead into the fourth, the Neuse Charter defense relaxed; victory was already in hand.
The team has found that as it heads into the heart of play, defense is where it is most comfortable. The hope the rest of the way the team can learn to find more confidence in its offensive game.
“We missed 10 layup in the first half, so she (Anna) was hitting them in the hands,” Robbie Taylor said. “That’s something we’re working on, and sometimes when you have players who are really yrying to get the ball down low, you have other players that just have to be ready for it.”
Bell 2, Stocks 5, Jones 2, Cruz 2, Reid 5, Bryant 2.
Neuse Charter (41)
Taylor 16, Dargan Harris 3, Delaney Harris 6, Parrish 7, Staten 9.
Score by quarters:
Hobbton 2 2 2 12 — 18
Neuse Charter 7 10 16 8 — 41