Wayne Country Day started slowly but quickly found its groove to beat John Paul II in the first round of the N.C. Independent School Athletic Association 2A girls’ basketball playoffs on Tuesday evening.
Wayne Country Day (15-5 overall) will host Trinity Academy (6-6) in the second round on Thursday.
“We came out real slow, I feel like my girls started slowly in the beginning, and John Paul scored the first two baskets on us,” Wayne Country Day head coach Maurice Jones. “But after we got going in the second quarter, the girls took control of the game in the second quarter.”
John Paul II jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the opening minutes but failed to put the Chargers away. Wayne Country Day quickly battled back by going on a 14-8 run, and the Chargers led 15-9 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Wayne Country Day really put its foot on the gas pedal.
Using their full-court man-to-man press defense, Wayne Country Day held the Saints scoreless in the second quarter, and the Chargers increased their lead to 38-9 at halftime.
“We work hard on defense, and we play real hard man-to-man defense,” Jones said. “We like to play hard defense, rebound, and run. That’s our philosophy. I teach my girls to play hard defense baseline to baseline.”
Ja’Kea Brunson drained two three-pointers in the third quarter, while Hayden Nielsen knocked down one three-pointer that helped push the Chargers ahead 55-15 going into the fourth quarter.
Wayne Country Day was able to play its bench players in the fourth quarter as the Chargers cruised to their 13th straight victory.
Brunson paced Wayne Country Day with 26 points. Kimora Cox and Carleigh Greiman both scored 12 points, while Nielsen and Jordin Whitney each added eight points.
“Offensively, we have scorers at every position,” Jones said. “My starting five, everybody can score from their position, and all I try to do is put them positions to score easily. When all of that is going for us, we’re a tough team to beat.”