By WAYNE PHILLIPS
Sports Editor Emeritus
North Greene's basketball teams are off to a solid start to the 2012-13 season, and they didn't let up a bit Tuesday night with a doubleheader victory over homestanding county rival West Greene.
The Lady Huskies turned to their defense to break open a tight game in the second half and move to a 51-41 victory over the Lady Buffs, while the North Greene boys took the lead early and held the advantage throughout in a 70-52 triumph.
The Lady Huskies improve to 7-1 on the season with their first Mountain East Conference game of the year on tap for Friday night at home to University High. The Lady Buffs (4-3) will be off until next Tuesday when they play host to another county rival in Chuckey-Doak, which will also be their initial Blue Ridge Conference game of the season.
North Greene's boys are 6-1, while the Buffs are 0-7.
DEFENSE LIFTS HUSKIES
Clinging to only a one point lead (39-38) after three quarters, the Lady Huskies used a solid defensive effort down the stretch to pull away from West Greene and win 51-41.
"We were faced with playing a big girl (Charlotte Murphy) who could take us out on the floor and either go to the hole or pull up and shoot it," Coach James Buchanan said. "She's hard to guard. We changed up our defense a bit in the second half and it worked well. But the difference in the game was No. 32."
"No. 32" is junior Mendy McNeese, who poured in 22 points and led the team in rebounding as well with nine. She also had five assists and three steals. Post Laiken Morrow, a 6-0 senior, scored 11 and had eight boards, and those were the only two Huskies in double figures.
Murphy, a 6-1 senior for West Greene, scored 12 points and raked off 13 rebounds for the Buffs. She also had three assists and three steals. Rachel Hensley was next best in scoring with nine.
The Lady Buffs hit 8 of their 11 shots from the floor in the first quarter and had the home crowd rocking as they bolted to an 18-9 lead at the horn. But after making six first quarter turnovers, the Lady Huskies didn't make any in the second frame while forcing the Buffs into six miscues, and McNeese scored 10 points as North Greene rallied to a 34-30 halftime lead.
The Buffs played on an even keel in the third and recaptured the lead one final time at 38-37 on a bucket by Murphy at the 2:52 mark, but then they went on a long dry spell from the field, scoring only three more points the rest of the ball game.
McNeese drove the lane and gave the Huskies a 39-38 lead at the third quarter horn, and they lengthened their lead on another basket by McNeese and two field goals by Morrow in the first three minutes of the fourth.
Only a free throw by Candy Majors and a bucket by Murphy when the outcome was decided were the only points West Greene could muster down the stretch.
HUSKY BOYS ARE BALANCED
North Greene's boys got double-digit scoring from Brett Bolton with 16, Tyler Bailey with 15 and Garrett Harbin with 14 as they moved past the Buffs 70-52.
Caleb Julian came off the bench to score 15 and lead West Greene.
The Buffs didn't guard Bailey closely enough in the opening frame and he drilled three 3-pointers to stake the Huskies to a 21-16 lead. They would never trail.
Bolton carried NG in the second quarter, scoring 10 points, and the Huskies extended the lead to 38-28 by intermission.
The Buffs stayed within reach in the third, but Harbin, who sat out the second quarter with two personal fouls, returned to throw in seven points and the Huskies led 51-39 heading into the final stanza.
Tyler Early hit a layup to start the fourth and close WG to a 51-41 deficit, but that would be as close as they would get.
The Huskies went on a 7-0 spurt to put the outcome on ice.