APEX — Middle Creek and Fuquay-Varina are too closely tied together to not be rivals.
But in recent years, the basketball series between the two schools has been mostly lopsided in favor of the Mustangs, who hosted Fuquay on Monday night.
The Bengals girls spiced up their side of the rivalry, beating Middle Creek 43-37. Middle Creek had won each meeting over the last two years and was 9-1 in its last 10 head-to-head.
The same couldn’t be said of the boys’ series, in which Middle Creek kept its years-long winning streak going with a 72-37 win.
“With the rivalry in football and baseball, with basketball being the other sport that people really come out to see, we want to get that win,” said Middle Creek boys basketball coach David Kushner. “I thought the kids came out energized. It’s kind of a strange scenario where we hadn’t played them this year. ... I thought we played as compl
ete of a game as we had all year.”
Middle Creek (4-18, 0-12) was dealt a blow in the Monday contest when junior Holly Hite took an elbow to the face, delivering a gash to her mouth that required stitches. Hite was coming off a week where she had 20 points and 20 rebounds in a loss to Holly Springs.
“When you lose (her) it’s like losing the engine to your team or the motor to our boat. It was tough. I don’t think we ever recovered from it,” said Middle Creek girls basketball coach Wes Petty. “For the past several years we’ve done pretty well against Fuquay and unfortunately I think that was in the back of some of their minds. They thought they could just show up, but they couldn’t. It’s a different team every year.”
The Mustangs drifted behind by as many as double digits in the Monday game before making it close late. Ashley Shenk, Shannon McLeoad and Kylie McElroy each had eight points for Middle Creek.
“It feels (good) to get the monkey off our back,” said Fuquay girls basketball coach Gail Siemer. “It’s always going to be a physical game because of the rivalry.”
Fuquay-Varina (5-16, 1-11) was led by senior Andrea Baker’s 12 points and senior Tiana Hunter’s 15 rebounds.
In the boys’ game Monday, the Mustangs (13-9, 8-4) jumped out to a 41-16 lead at halftime on the Bengals (2-19, 0-12). Senior Fred Iruafemi had 14 points, seven rebounds and five blocks. Daniel Jackson added 13 points off the bench, and freshman starting point guard Shammond Hicks had 10 points.
“(Hicks) has the most points ever by a freshman in Middle Creek history,” Kushner said.
It was a collective effort by the Mustangs as eleven different players scored. Fuquay got 10 points from forward Dez Byrd.
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