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WENDELL — East Wake High boys basketball’s supporting cast gave Wake Forest no sporting chance in a 76-65 victory at home Nov. 26 separated by double digits for nearly three quarters.
The host Warriors (1-1) had depended on its junior nucleus of Jeremiah Crudup, Zac Sloan and Javonne Mercer to bear the points burden in a 65-62 defeat vs. Wilson Hunt to begin the season. That trio accounted for 56 of the total tallies, or 90 percent.
“We need someone else to step up,” head coach Gerald Melton said before the Cougar contest. “Those three are our veterans, but they cannot be counted on to play 32 minutes each and be our only reliable ones to put the ball in the basket.”
His wish was granted early in the second outing as sophomore R.J. Vick came off the bench to generate 14 points via four 3-pointers and a breakaway dunk. Nine other Warriors would donate at least one bucket apiece.
Melton needed a momentum-stemming timeout midway the first period as Wake Forest jumped on top, 12-5. Afterward, though, Vick’s hot hand forged a 15-4 flash to the end of the first quarter.
The gap spread to 40-24 by intermission when Mercer (19 points, 14 rebounds, four blocks) really wreaked havoc in the paint. Curtis Ellerby chipped in another eight boards, including five offensive pulls.
The third quarter exchanged offensive exploits. East Wake still gained ground on the Cougars (0-2) by extending the margin to 18 with eight minutes left.
Wake Forest responded with treys on three consecutive possessions, then later constructed an 8-0 spurt which cut the difference to 11 by the two-minute mark.
The Warriors spread the floor and ate clock, using a Sloan (six points, four rebounds, four steals) trip to the free-throw line and a late Michael Vick swooping transition layup to hold the visitors at a safe distance.
Crudup (six points, seven assists), soccer sensation turned court contributor Julius Cappelletti (six points), Isaiah Holman (four), Coryon Horton (three), Ellerby (three) and Javei O’Bryant (two) shared the shot-making load.
Wake Forest depended on Caleek Cobb ( 21 points) and Hogan Stallings (10 points) to supply a majority of the opposition. It finished 22-of-48 from the floor and 6-of-10 at the line.
East Wake forced 16 turnovers and suffered just nine while cleaning the offensive glass for 23 second-chance opportunities. After belting 10 distance dings beyond the arc vs. Wilson Hunt, it collected a win with just six triples in this duel.
East Wake will play Rolesville tonight at home at 7:30 p.m. Wake Forest will take on D.H. Conley at home Saturday at 3 p.m.