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Lady Rams make late run to defeat Cougars

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WAKE FOREST - It's not about how you start. It's about how you finish. That was the case when Rolesville's girls basketball team took down Wake Forest 59-46 on the road Friday Jan. 17.

Rolesville started off the game down 8-1 at Wake Forest. Despite the slow start, the Rams ended up winning the conference match-up by 13 points.

Rolesville head coach Anthony McKoy said the players stepped up on defense in the second half, which led to the team pulling away near the end.

"I told the girls at halftime to sell out on defense," McKoy said. "We can't trade buckets with Wake Forest, so we needed stops. When we get our defense going, it can lead to some transition points on offense."

Wake Forest held a small 14-12 lead at the end of the first quarter. There were five lead changes in the second quarter, but Rolesville went into halftime up 31-29.

Wake Forest took back the lead at 32-31 off an early 3-pointer in the third quarter. Rolesville clawed their way back in it to go up 34-33 and went into the fourth period up 40-35.

In the fourth quarter, the Rams took over the game with their takeaways and quick transition buckets. Rolesville never gave up the advantage for the rest of the night and finished with a 59-46 victory.

"The girls were up to play this game to start out with," McKoy said. "We changed a few things on defense during halftime. That ignited the offense and we ran it from there."

One of the biggest standouts of the game was Kalie Fleming. The senior guard led Rolesville with a double-double of 21 points and 11 rebounds, plus three steals. Statistically, it was one of the best games of her high school career.

"Kalie is an athletic guard," McKoy said. "It's a piece that we have to have. Her energy and effort on both offense and defense is something that is phenomenal. She is something really special. She quietly gets up there in points."

Mikaila DeVaughn also posted a double-double for Rolesville with 13 points and 10 rebounds, plus three steals. The senior forward also led the team with three blocks. Alisa Davenport only scored two points for the Rams, but she also led the squad with five steals and four assists, plus two blocks.

Rolesville's Kashara Simpson scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Areina Harris dropped 10 points and recorded four rebounds and four assists.

For McKoy and most of the players, the game had a friendly feel to it. Wake Forest's head coach is Clinton Williams, who previously served as head coach for five years at Rolesville before McKoy. McKoy worked under Williams at Rolesville as their junior varsity girls basketball coach before he took over as the varsity head coach this year.

"It was fun coaching against Coach Williams," McKoy said with a laugh. "I hope we can get a rivalry going for many years between us."

With the loss, Wake Forest dropped to 3-13 overall. The Cougars are 1-2 in the NAC 6 conference, trying to stay out of last place against Corinth Holders.

With the win, Rolesville improved to 13-3 overall. It was their first NAC 6 conference win of the season after losing back-to-back games against Wakefield and Knightdale.

"We want to make sure that we keep our intensity up," McKoy said. "The girls can't get down on themselves when things aren't going our way. We just need to hustle on both offense and defense. If we do that, good things will come to us."

Rolesville will play at Heritage Friday Jan. 24 at 6 p.m. Wake Forest will play at Wakefield at the same date and time.