Late run lifts Green Hope girls over Middle Creek

mblake@newsobserver.comFebruary 7, 2014 

— “It’s not how you start but how you finish” is a saying that can be applied to the Green Hope girls basketball team’s entire season, not just its 65-52 win Wednesday night against Middle Creek.

In a back-and-forth affair, the Falcons went on a 20-3 run in the final three minutes.

Green Hope (9-10, 6-4) started the year 1-6 but has played its way into a potential top-three spot in the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference, which would be an automatic playoff berth.

“I thought our defense stepped up at the end of the game,” Green Hope coach Mike Robinson said. “I wish it was there at the beginning of the game, but I give credit to Middle Creek. They took us out of our stuff early.”

Needs improvement: Middle Creek (4-16, 0-10) was hurried by Green Hope’s full court press at times. The Mustangs’ most experienced players are not ball-handlers.

“We panicked tonight,” said Middle Creek coach Wes Petty. “The thing Green Hope does well is they change defenses. They don’t have one press, they have like three.”

What worked: Down the stretch, Green Hope was solid in transition and at the free throw line. During the 20-3 run, the Falcons went 10-of-11 from the line while Middle Creek was 1-of-4.

Feeling the impact: The Falcons, who led 27-22 at halftime, are gaining confidence. They started the year without injured senior Jaria Martin, but soon after her arrival freshman Kelly Fitzgerald was hurt and is likely done for the year.

Nonetheless, the team is peaking at a good time.

“The girls are stepping up and playing,” Robinson said. “Allie Winiecki is doing a good job at point guard, and Jaria is just getting after it on defense.”

It was the third close loss in the last four games for Middle Creek, even if the scoreboard didn’t indicate it. The Mustangs lost two other games by two points each to Holly Springs and Panther Creek.

“We’ve been getting better. That’s the positive we’re taking out of it,” Petty said. “You never know what will happen when the conference tournament rolls around.”

Two years ago, Middle Creek made the conference tournament final as a 6-seed. The Mustangs are hoping for a similar run this year.

Blake: 919-460-2606; Twitter: @JMBpreps

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