Wayne Country Day could seemingly do nothing wrong in the first half against Trinity Academy of Raleigh on Thursday evening.
And the Chargers know they will need to have another energetic performance on Saturday.
Three Wayne Country Day players scored in double figures in a 62-50 win against the Tigers in the second round of the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 2A girls’ basketball playoffs.
The Chargers visit No. 2 seed Village Christian Academy in the quarterfinals on Saturday.
“The girls played really well in this game. We played Trinity Academy last year in the playoffs, and we knew they were a really tough team,” Wayne Country Day head coach Maurice Jones said. “A lot of respect goes their way, but the girls stood up to the challenge, and they really played well.”
Ja’Kea Brunson led Wayne Country Day with 21 points and Jordin Whitney contributed 15 points. Hayden Nielson knocked three three-pointers and finished with 12 points, while Kimora Cox added nine points.
Using their man-to-man full-court press, the Chargers started the game off with a 14-4 run and got offensive production from four different players, but Tigers cut Wayne Country Day’s lead down to 16-9 at the end of the first quarter.
However, the Chargers continued to stay aggressive in the second quarter and managed to grow their lead.
At the end of the second quarter, Brunson’s basket gave Wayne Country Day a 32-17 lead at halftime.
“Ja’Kea, Kimora and Jordin are our top three scorers, so when Hayden and Carleigh Greiman get going, it picks everybody up because we feel we’re a complete team at that point,” Jones said.
Trinity Academy started to develop its offensive rhythm in the second half.
The Tigers worked the ball around the perimeter as Ashley Woodfin drained a three-pointer with 28 seconds in the third quarter to close the gap to 41-32.
But Wayne Country Day opened the fourth quarter on a 9-2 run, with all nine points coming from Brunson and Whitney.
Trinity Academy did a good of hanging around throughout the rest of the fourth quarter, but the Chargers held off the Tigers to advance to the quarterfinals.
“Trinity has great shooters that if you don’t guard, they will shoot, and they were able to get some three-pointers on us that we weren’t expected,” Jones said. “I was telling the girls to settle down in the second half because we were playing like we were behind, so I told the girls ‘to settle down and play our game and pace.’
“We knew we had them because they couldn’t run with us.”
Village Christian defeated Wayne Country 52-48 during the regular. Jones said the Chargers are looking to avenge that loss on Saturday.
“This is a revenge game for us, and we really want to go out there and show what we can do because we want that win badly.”