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There won’t be a third straight regular-season title in the 3-A Big East Conference from the Hunt High varsity girls basketball team.
But that doesn’t mean the Lady Warriors are lacking confidence as postseason play begins next week.
Friday night versus archrival Fike, Hunt continued its resurrection from arguably the conference’s most puzzling result of the year — a 58-50 loss at Southern Nash back on Jan. 17 — with its eighth straight victory in a wire-to-wire 65-45 decision over the struggling Lady Golden Demons, observing Senior Night for a pair of performers in Syniya Artis and Regina Barber.
Hunt, which had an outside chance to nab a share of the conference crown with a win and a Rocky Mount loss to Northern Nash, instead finished with the No. 2 seed in moving to 16-6 overall and finishing league play at 8-2 following Rocky Mount’s win. The Lady Warriors will have a semifinal game Wednesday against either Northern Nash or these same Lady Demons at a site to be determined following conference meetings Saturday morning.
Fike, which lost for the 17th straight contest, dropped to 2-19 in all games and was left winless in all 10 Big East games.
Hunt was paced by the senior duo of Imani Sutton and Bria Griffith, with Sutton leading the way with 27 points. Griffith eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for her career with her 22-point effort.
“Overall, I think we did OK,” Hunt head coach Tiffany Parks said. “There’s definitely a lot of work we need to have on Monday. I was a little upset with getting back on defense really was the only thing. I have four people on the other end of the court and one going back and she’s got three or four fouls. That’s not the ideal person you want to be back. I was really upset about it.”
Hunt blitzed Fike from the opening tip, scoring the game’s first nine points and never trailing. The lead for the Lady Warriors reached 32-11 late in the second quarter, but Fike closed on a 5-0 spurt.
Showing a degree of grit, the Lady Demons trimmed a 40-20 deficit to 12 in the third quarter on a jumper by sophomore Jada Lamm and back-to-back 3-point plays by junior Janiseya Anderson and Avery Lentz. But Fike got no closer.
A pair of Anderson free throws enabled the Lady Demons to get within 53-40 with 3:01 to go before Hunt closed on a 12-5 run, buoyed by a pair of 3-pointers from Sutton.
“I think it was a good way to end conference for us with a little bit of confidence from us,” Fike head coach Jeff Nelson said. “The final score is not going to show how closer it kind of was in a way, but we had to press at the end, and they just broke it and made some shots.”
Sutton had 17 of her total in the fourth, while Griffith’s defense and dribble penetration into the lane kept further Fike thoughts of a comeback at bay. Barber had 12 in her final game in the Fike gym, while Anderson added 11.
“It wasn’t a priority,” Griffith said of hitting the 1,000-point plateau. “I just let my game come to me throughout my career and never try to force anything.”
Griffith 22, McNeil 2, Smith 2, Haley 4, Sutton 27, Lucas 8.
Anderson 11, Williams, Curlings, Barber 12, Strickland 2, Artis 4, Lamm 9, Lentz 5, Wilder 2.
Score by quarters:
Hunt 19 13 15 18 — 65
Fike 5 11 16 13 — 45