Northern Nash coach Grover Battle made his girls basketball players do a little extra work Monday night.
After a quick postgame speech, Battle and the Knights returned to the court to pick up two sets of chairs used during their game, and the team placed them on a rolling cart to be stored away.
It took the entire team and coaching staff just a few short minutes to complete the task.
It didn’t take Northern Nash much longer to dispose of its opponent, Southern Wayne, either.
Quinesha Lynch and Alexus Hill scored 21 points each, and No. 2 Northern Nash rolled to an easy 81-31 victory in the first round of the NCHSAA 3-A state playoffs.
The Knights will play host to Rocky Mount High at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Northern Nash returned to the form that led it to an undefeated season prior to an overtime loss to Rocky Mount 11 days ago in the finals of the Big East Conference Tournament.
The Knights trapped defensively, forced turnovers and ran out to easy baskets in reaching a season-high points total.
“We have a mission, and this was the first step,” Knights senior Jordan Oldham said. “Last week, we were trying to be as intense as possible because we didn’t have any games. We just needed to refocus. After the loss, we were more motivated. It was the kick we needed.”
The Knights raced out to a 16-point lead after the first quarter and extended it to 28 at halftime.
No. 15 Southern Wayne (13-11) was overmatched at nearly every position, with the lone bright spot coming from guard Zaria Adkins, who scored 21 of her team’s 31 points.
Northern Nash was able to rest its starters at times, and 10 different Knights scored.
Battle was pleased with the play and scoring of his post players.
Oldham and Deja Lewis had six points, while Camille Branch added nine off the bench.
“We know we want to get the ball inside and not be a perimeter team all the time,” Battle said. “They got some opportunities. Whether they finished or not, it’s still a threat when you are able to get the ball to them.”
A familiar opponent awaits Wednesday, and in so many words, Battle told his team that they be must mature in its next game.
“If they want to get there, they have to work hard,” Battle said.
Northern Nash 81
Southern Wayne 31
SW 7 9 11 4 – 31
NN 23 21 24 13 – 81
SW: Zaria Adkins (21 points); Keajah Wilson (6 points); Erika Lane (2 points); Cierra Thompson (2 points).
NN: Alexus Hill (21 points); Quinesha Lynch (21 points); Camille Branch (9 points); Jordan Oldham (6 points); Deja Lewis (6 points); Shakyia Mercer (6 points); Ce Ce Harrison (6 points); Khadijrah Richardson (5 points); Alexia Hines (2 points); Kayla Tucker (2 points)
Jessie H. Nunery can be reached at 407-9959 or firstname.lastname@example.org