CLAYTON — Clayton’s girls basketball team was glad to get back to being a basketball team Thursday night. Wednesday’s practice didn’t resemble the game James Naismith created at all. It was all running and workouts with medicine balls. All, of course, with no basketballs or basketball goals present.
“After the tough loss (to Knightdale) we came in and had a tough practice,” said Clayton coach Marlon Lee. “We have to get tougher and have a chip on our shoulder. So the goals were up and we didn’t bring out a basketball. It was all running and work with medicine balls.”
It took a quarter of rough play to get back to basketball, but the hard work showed results as Clayton claimed a 60-46 victory over Garner. The Comets outscored the Trojans 17-3 in the second quarter after trailing 13-7.
Clayton’s offense started to click when it put the ball in the hands of Taisha Murphy who had three second-quarter assists and timely baskets.
Murphy finished with 23 points and eight assists.
Garner, which had thrived on second-chance points in the first quarter, struggled to find scoring in the second quarter and didn’t get as many offensive rebounds.
The Trojans (1-6 overall, 0-3 conference) wouldn’t let the Comets (7-2, 2-1) run away with the win. Kayani Chandler and Kelsey Bryan hit 3-pointers in the third quarter to spark a Garner run which eventually cut the lead to 42-36 entering the final quarter. Bryan hit a short jumper after teammate Montana Dare made a diving save of a ball going out of bounds for the last points of the quarter.
Chandler and Bryan both finished with 11 points, but Amber Courtney led the Trojans with 14 points.
“Garner wasn’t going to go away,” Lee said. “But we kept playing and got good contributions from players like Amber Caudle and Taylor Williams and others to hold onto the lead.
“This is a big win for us, coming off of the loss to Knightdale.”
Garner would get the lead down to five points early in the fourth but Taisha Murphy had five points in a 7-0 Comet run to push the lead back up to 10 points.
Caudle and Taisha Murphy combined to go six-of-six from the free throw line in the last 150 seconds of play.
Ashley Murphy (13) and Jenna Harris (10) had solid scoring nights for Clayton as well.
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