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KNIGHTDALE — In this season of giving, the Knightdale High varsity boys basketball team did not give West Johnston much of a chance during a 74-28 lopsided triumph at home Dec. 5.
The Knights (5-2 overall) produced 11 different scorers, controlled the boards (41 rebounds to 18), held the Wildcats to 9-of-41 (22 percent) shooting and forced 26 enemy turnovers. They also exploded for 26 points in the first quarter alone to build a 19-point lead which only expanded as the clock ticked.
Senior Rodney Ellis (14 points, six assists, five steals) spearheaded the starting guard-oriented lineup which saw football star Evan McCray (six points, four assists, three steals) make an early impact at both ends. Back-to-back Ellis treys, though, established a quickly ballooning gap.
The second frame saw Knightdale’s Crishaun Mitchell (eight points, nine rebounds) soar for an alley-oop dunk from Ellis which electrified the crowd. Facing a highlight reel from its rival, West Johnston continued losing ground until the 44-19 halftime gap.
Making matters much worse was the 18-2 Knight surge to begin the third quarter. An Ellis theft quickly netted an Ayinde Taylor (seven points, six rebounds) layup, putting the hosts off and running farther away.
Nick Boone (three points, 10 rebounds) relentlessly pounded the pane alongside Vaughn Taylor (10 points, four rebounds) to shatter the Wildcat resistance.
West Johnston hit just 1-of-16 shots from the floor amid the frame. Vaughn Taylor collected a transition bucket which spread the difference to 43 points, one over the mercy rule invoking number with less than two minutes left in the period. The clock would wind down nonstop from there.
Knightdale’s advantage maxed at 50 when freshman Quasim Oden (10 points, four assists) strummed a top-of-the-key three. Omar Carabello (six points, three assists), Demonte Vaughn (three points), David Ingraham (two points) and Rashid Talib (two points) contributed to the overwhelming effort.
In clamping down defensively for the outpouring of Wildcat errors, Knightdale only sent the guests to the foul line for five free throws. West Johnston made just one of those opposite the Knights collective 11-of-17 at the stripe.
The Knights were coming off a close 54-51 loss at Sanderson just two days prior. This huge margin of victory over West Johnston eases the pain of losing just a little bit more before they head into the holiday break.
Knightdale will play rival East Wake at home Thursday, Dec. 19 at 7:30 p.m.