Pungo boys, girls zip by conference-rival Albemarle

Published 4:55 pm Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Lady Raiders 61, Lady Colts 15

Conference basketball wins are never easy, but Pungo Christian Academy was locked in from start to finish and cruised to victory in both games on Tuesday evening.

The Lady Raiders (13-3, 6-1 Tarheel Independent) never allowed double digit scoring in any of the four frames they played on Friday evening. Pungo outscored the Lady Colts 16-2 in the first quarter and 17-6 in the second stanza to own a 34-8 halftime lead.

The onslaught continued in the second half, as the Lady Raiders found the soft spot in the Colts’ zone and drained its first five shots of the half.

Pungo’s defense was a big part of their success, as Lauren Kellie Ricks, Reagan Stoop and Emma Williams wreaked havoc in the passing lanes and turned steals into transition baskets.

Junior point guard Riley Cutler was a big part of the Raiders’ success. She said her job playing the point is to find her teammates with an open shot, and she did plenty of that on Tuesday. Cutler had eight assists to go along with 12 points and two steals on the night.

“We ran our fast break really good tonight,” Cutler said after the blowout win. “Our defense was playing well. We have to work on our offense, though. When teams are playing good defense against us we have to work the ball into the middle to our big people and let them take it to the defense. They’re big enough and good enough to do it.”

Williams led the Lady Raiders with 16 points. She also had eight rebounds, five assists and four steals on the night. Ricks added 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds while Josie Hudnell picked up 10 points and four boards.

The Lady Raiders have tough matchups next week against an undefeated Unity Christian (15-0) team Tuesday and host the Tarheel Independent Conference’s first-place Northeast Academy Eagles next Friday night.


Raiders 67, Colts 46

EYES ON THE RIM: Pungo’s Wilson Sawyer gets set to release a free throw in a game against New Life Academy last month. Sawyer led the team with 13 rebounds on the night and scored 10 points for a double-double performance.
(Mitchell Thomas / Daily News)

The boys team had a tough test with third-place Albemarle on Tuesday evening. While the offense didn’t really find its rhythm, they found a way to earn points at the charity stripe and with second-chance points.

Head coach Mart Benson was encouraged that his team found a way to win the game despite not executing on the offensive end the way they are capable.

“This was huge. We have dedicated the last several practices to playing this team, because we knew it was going to be a tough battle,” Benson said after the game. “I think our defense showed up once again. We had a good defensive plan and they ran it well. Offensively, I didn’t think we ever really got it going, but things kept going our way. We got a lot of hustle baskets, which was huge in a game like this. Every conference game is tough, and we’re battling to stay on top.”

Pungo grabbed an astounding 51 total rebounds as a team, and that was key in getting second-chance points and building the lead.

Albemarle is dangerous from outside the arc, but the Raiders kept them at bay on Tuesday night. The Colts were 7-of-31 from 3-point land, but only shot 24% from the field in its second consecutive loss.

“Our defense really turned into offense tonight. I mean we were really locking them down. They were averaging way more than we gave them tonight,” senior Brent Benson said. “There at the end we slowed the ball down and it really helped us spread the floor. I think Miller had eight to 10 points because we got the ball inside and that really helped. Normally I’m hitting a few 3’s, but I don’t think I had a point tonight. So I was really glad my teammates had my back, got some big rebounds and put backs. It really shows how good and strong of a team we really are.”

Miller Lee led all scorers with 21 points, Wilson Sawyer picked up 10 with 13 rebounds, Nate Van Staalduinen added nine points and grabbed 11 boards, while Eddy Credle had 10 points and six rebounds. Ryan Bishop had eight points and Miller O’Neal had seven.

The Raiders will be back on the floor Thursday night looking for vengeance against an Epiphany squad that beat them in New Bern last month. Girls tip-off is set for 6 p.m. and the boys game will follow.