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Slow start dooms Warriors vs. Knights in Big East semis

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ROCKY MOUNT —  The Hunt High varsity boys basketball team fell behind 21-9 in the first quarter to 3-A Big East Conference regular-season champion Northern Nash and could not not recover as the Warriors fell 70-61 in the Big East tournament semifinals Wednesday the Rocky Mount Event Center.

“Our team came out with a little bit of the jitters and loose with the ball, and Northern Nash took advantage of it,” Hunt head coach Dwight Taylor said. “I don’t feel like we ever recovered from that first quarter even though we closed the gap some. That first quarter was really big for them and not so good for us.”

The No. 1 seed Knights (23-1) never trailed in the game in beating the No. 4 Warriors (14-9) for a third time this season. The Knights had four players in double figures. Davontae Wiggins was dominant throughout the game with 25 points. Sam Page, Sencere Battle and Henry Richardson had 13, 11 and 10 points respectively. 

The Warriors got a 15-point performance from Shaquille Wade and 13 points from ShaKei Hines.

The Warriors were able to come within 65-59 in the final minute of the fourth after the Knights put in all the players who had not played yet. Taylor said that’s a characteristic of his team, but it’s also in Northern Nash’s character to close the game out.

“I know my team and they got the fight in ‘em. I mean they’re going to fight and claw; they’ve been doing that all season,” Taylor said. “Northern is so composed, so experienced that — some teams that rattles — but it didn’t rattle them even though we closed the gap.”

Northern Nash will take on Fike in the conference tourney championship Friday at the Event Center, while the Warriors will now await to see their fate in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association playoffs. 

“It’s a new season in the playoffs,” Taylor said. “We’re still going to be playing on Tuesday. (I) don’t know where but we’ll probably have to travel and be ready to play. As long as the attitudes stay positive, anything can happen in the playoffs.”

 

HUNT (61)

Wade 15, Hines 13, Jones 9, Clay 8, May 7, Coley 7, Taylor 2.

NORTHERN NASH (70)

Wiggins 25, Page 13, Battle 11, Richardson 10, Flowers 8, Brown 3.

 

Score by quarters:

Hunt 9 15 13 24 61

Northern Nash 21 13 19 17 70

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