By Greg Ford
Wylie East’s basketball teams got 2014 started off right Friday, as each beat district foe Royse City before a good contingent of fans at East.
The Lady Raiders opened things up with a 60-43 triumph, and the Raiders followed that with a 54-49 win.
East’s girls are now 4-1 in District 13-4A, while the boys are 2-1. The teams traveled Tuesday to McKinney North and will host Lovejoy on Friday. The next games for each will be Tuesday, Jan. 14, at home against Denison.
“It was very big for us to get off on the right foot coming off of the break,” said Lady Raiders’ head coach Lance Edge. “Even though we did play in the Prosper Tournament, we did get a little banged up. We’re not as healthy as we would like to be, and we were missing a few girls here tonight.”
He added. “I told them tonight that it was (going to be) an effort game. Whoever was going to play with the most effort was going to win. I thought that our girls got on the floor and they grounded through to get the win.”
The Lady Raiders led 30-26 at halftime, but then provided some breathing room by rattling off the first 12 points of the third quarter. That run included a pair of Hannah Moya three-pointers. By the quarter’s end, East was comfortably ahead 47-32.
Royse City posed no serious threat in the fourth quarter, as the Lady Raiders maintained their double-digit lead.
Emily Hartegan led the way with a game-high 23 points, with Moya adding 21.
“I like that we have been able to spread the points out, and the girls are stepping up and hitting big shots,” Edge said.
The Raiders prevailed in a evenly matched contest with the Bulldogs, making big plays down the stretch to provide the winning points.
“We wanted to get off to a good start,” head coach Emanuel Roland said. “Tonight was a good opportunity to make a move and put ourselves in a position to win a ball game.”
The score was tied 11-11 after the first quarter, and then Royse City took a 24-23 lead into the break. After trading baskets through much of the third quarter, the teams again found themselves deadlocked 29-29.
Eventually, the Raiders edged ahead 37-36 late in the quarter before Royse City retook it with a buzzer-beating layup for a 38-37 advantage heading into the final eight minutes.
The Bulldogs went on 5-0 run to lead 43-37, but the Raiders trimmed it to 45-43 with 4:00 left in regulation. Finally, Xavier Hopkins put East ahead 46-45 on a three-pointer with 2:53 left in the game.
Royse City tied it 46-46 with a free throw, but Hopkins, who finished with eight points, came right back with a bucket for a 48-46 lead.
After forcing a turnover, the Raiders went back downcourt, where Jared Wyatt grabbed a missed shot and laid it in for a 50-46 lead with 28.47 seconds left.
Henry Dues rebounded a missed Royse City shot and passed the ball into Garrett Mayberry’s hands.
The latter was fouled and then hit two free throws for a 52-46 lead. Royse City got back within striking distance on a three-pointer with 5.81 seconds left.
Hopkins got the ensuing inbounds pass, was fouled and then hit both free throws for the game’s final points.
Dues finished with a game-high 18 points, with Pete Okonkwo adding 11.