In a game Reynolds High really needed to win, lightning-quick point guard Isaiah Pruett made sure that happened at Enka on Thursday night.
The Rockets blew past the Jets with a 28-point fourth quarter, rallying for an 87-81 win in Western Mountain Athletic Conference play.
Reynolds (10-2, 4-2), coming in with two league losses while chasing North Buncombe (7-0) for first place, could not afford to fall any further behind in the regular-season race.
“This is a game we needed,” said Reynolds coach Ryan Stevens. “We hadn’t proven yet we could grind out a win. We did that tonight. We were behind most of the game but we came through in the end. I’m proud of that effort.”
It didn’t look good for Reynolds through three quarters, with the Jets getting four 3-pointers from Devin Bassett and strong play from Josh Walton (19 points) to take a 64-59 lead into the final period.
But Enka (9-4, 4-2) couldn’t contain Pruett, a high-energy penetrator averaging more than 26 points a game.
Pruett’s 21-point second half brought the Rockets back, and he kept his team in the game with 13 third-quarter points.
He added eight more in the final period, when Reynolds took control by outscoring the Jets 28-17.
A long jumper from Jalen Crowder midway through the fourth quarter gave the Rockets the lead for good at 68-66, and Reynolds put the game away by making five of six free throws in the last 26 seconds.
The difference was at the foul line; Reynolds converted 24-of-29 free throws, Enka made just 14-of-28 attempts.
“This was huge for us, a really big win,” said Pruett. “We had to come into a tough environment and steal one, and we did that.
“They were playing me (man-to-man) full court, and I feel like I’m quicker than anyone who can guard me. Early on my shot wasn’t falling, but I stayed confident that my game would come.”
In the girls game, Reynolds was successful in slowing down high-scoring freshman Emily Carver, but her Sugar Jets’ teammates picked up the slack in a 77-56 win.
The Rockets (2-10, 1-5) came out in a box-and-one on Carver, the 14-year-old averaging 22 points a game in her first varsity season.
Carver played patiently through the junk defense and a lot of double-teams, finishing with three baskets and 16 points. She also had seven rebounds and six assists.
And Enka junior guard Carly Banks brought plenty of offense, making a trio of 3-pointers among her 24 points.
Mae Cordiale also had a trio of treys and added 13 points for Enka (8-5, 5-1).
Emma Reynolds had 15 points and Aryeon Shivers added 13 for the Rockets.