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Basketball enters heated competition in 2020

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Now that 2019 is fully behind us, let’s take a look and see how our local high school boys and girls basketball teams are doing.

Most teams are about to start conference play this week. Let’s see how everyone is doing so far before the competition heats up this winter.

We’ll go ladies first starting with the 4A class. Rolesville has had a great start to their season. Entering NAC 6 conference play, the Lady Rams are 12-1 overall.

Rolesville started the year 8-0 before losing to Sanderson 42-39 in the Athens Drive Holiday tournament. The team is led by junior Kashara Simpson, who is averaging 12.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and two assists per game.

Anthony McKoy is doing a marvelous job in his first year as the varsity head coach for Rolesville. He has relied heavily on the senior leadership of Areina Harris, Alisa Davenport, Kalie Fleming and Mikaila DeVaughn.

Right behind Rolesville are Wakefield and Knightdale, both tied at 10-3 overall. Knightdale had a bit of a miscue with a 69-46 loss at Athens Drive, but then the Lady Knights rebounded with a 49-34 win at East Wake Tuesday night.

After suffering early defeats, Wakefield is gaining momentum after winning the Cary Academy Holiday tournament. The Lady Wolverines defeated Trinity Christian 47-33 Dec. 28 to claim that honor.

Wakefield is also coming off a 50-8 blowout victory over Southern Lee Tuesday as their final non-conference game of the season.

Elisa Williams is racking up MVP-like numbers with 19.7 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.2 steals and 4.8 assists per game so far. The junior is wasting no time proving to everyone why she is the frontrunner for the conference player of the year.

Both Heritage and Wake Forest struggled against non-conference opponents this season. The Lady Huskies are 5-7, while the Cougars are dead last in the conference at 2-11. The two Wake Forest teams are hoping things will turn around when conference play tips off.

In the 3A class, Franklinton’s girls basketball team has had a pretty decent start to the season at 10-3 overall. The Red Rams are behind Northern Nash (10-2) and Rocky Mount (10-3) in the Big East conference.

Franklinton ended the 2019 year on a three-game win streak and are currently undefeated at home with a 6-0 record. The Red Rams are coming off a big 73-37 win at Fike Tuesday to kick off Big East conference play with a bang.

Head coach Matthew Hockaday hopes his players can keep on improving behind the stellar play of Miracle Cornell, Amber Rushing, Katherine Wilkins and Rebekah Smith.

In the 1A class, Franklin Academy’s girls basketball team had a rough start, but now they are looking more promising. The Lady Patriots are 4-7 overall and coming off back-to-back conference wins against East Wake Academy Monday and Oxford Preparatory Tuesday.

After starting out 0-3, Franklin Academy is progressing behind star player Emma Bailey, who is leading the team with 12 points a game. Head coach John Noble is hoping his young squad can gain experience as the season goes along.

Now we’re looking at how the boys season is playing out. Starting with the 4A class, it’s a very competitive NAC 6 conference with Knightdale, Rolesville and Wakefield vying for the top spot.

Both Wakefield and Rolesville are 8-4 overall. The Rams were riding a six-game win streak until they lost to South Granville 84-74 in the holiday tournament championship game. Now that 2020 has come around, Rolesville will try to get back on track.

Wakefield competed in that same tournament, but in a different bracket. The Wolverines ended 2019 with a 61-59 win over Sanderson. Then Wakefield kicked off the 2020 campaign with a close 54-51 win against Southern Lee Tuesday night.

Knightdale also participated in the South Granville Holiday tournament where they lost to the host Vikings 60-54 Dec. 27. The Knights made up for that loss with a 60-53 win over Cape Fear Christian Academy Dec. 28.

Knightdale enters NAC 6 conference play with momentum after a big 62-61 victory at East Wake to close out non-conference competition. They look like a force to be reckoned with this year.

Meanwhile, Heritage and Wake Forest have fallen behind in 2019. The Huskies are 5-6 and Wake Forest is 4-9. They have some ground to make up if they want to compete for the NAC 6 title.

In the 3A class, Franklinton is last among Big East conference opponents at 4-11. Northern Nash is dominating right now at 12-2 overall and Hunt is the only other conference team with a winning record at 6-5.

The Red Rams have made things interesting in 2020 with a recent 65-62 win at Fike Tuesday to commence conference play. Franklinton will try to keep things rolling.

Last, but not least in the 1A class, Franklin Academy is shaping up to have a pretty good year. The Patriots are 8-3 overall and 4-1 in North Central conference play after a 79-63 win at Oxford Preparatory Tuesday.

Franklin Academy is without their top two players in Jaxon Moseley and Colby Lynam, but the team is doing just fine so far under first-year head coach Tyler Alexander.

Franklin Academy players Nicholas Russo, Will Quinn, Ryan Franklin, Landon Brewer and Jason Rovnak have picked up the slack in recent games.

Now Franklin Academy is battling with Voyager Academy (7-2) and Henderson Collegiate (9-6) for first place in the conference.

Most of our local basketball teams tip of conference play tonight (Friday). Come out and support your local schools as they try to make a big run in 2020.

Marty Simpkins is the sports editor of The Wake Weekly. He can be reached at 919-424-1779 or