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AREA ROUNDUP: Lady Panthers win seventh straight

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Varsity Girls Basketball

Lady Panther’s third quarter propels them to win

FOUR OAKS — Another tight game between the varsity girls basketball teams of North Johnston and South Johnston on Friday night ended in the Lady Panthers’ seventh straight win by a 35-31 margin.


The Lady Panthers (8-2) of the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference won their fourth straight against the Lady Trojans (1-10) of the 3-A Greater Neuse River Conference, including a 35-31 victory on Dec. 20 at North Johnston.


Friday’s game was another tight affair in which Lady Panthers head coach Jay Poole said neither team got a lead bigger than six.


Lady Panthers senior Jordyn Scott scored game-high 14 points, including going 10 of 11 from the free-throw line. She also grabbed two rebounds and came up with four steals.


Poole said his team’s defense was good, but allowed South Johnston’s size advantage to score several offensive putbacks. Shae Ward led the scoring for the Lady Trojans with 10 points while Nikki Lee added six points.


Poole said Lindsey Massengill and Imoni Hines were both in foul trouble which made him turn to Haley Narron, Kenisha Barnes and Aaliyah Massey to fill the void in the post. Even with foul trouble, Hines scored nine points, including 5-of-6 from the free throw line, with a team-high eight rebounds. Pearce scored nine of her own to go with four steals. 


Lady Panthers freshman Nikiya Blue led the team with five steals to add to her two points and six rebounds. North Johnston finished with 17 steals. 


The Lady Panthers will host  Franklin Academy (4-9) and its high-scoring guard Emma Bailey (20.6 points per game) on Tuesday, Jan. 9 at 6:30 p.m. South Johnston welcomes in Corinth Holders (8-4) on Tuesday at 8 p.m. 


North Johnston(35)

Scott 14, Pearce 9, Hines 9, Blue 2, Massengill 1

South Johnston (31)

Ward 10, Lee 6, Jernigan 5, Toler 5, Wheelus 3, Brown 2 


Score by quarters:

North Johnston 7 8 11 9—35

South Johnston 4 11 5 11—31


Lady Spartans blown out at home

SMITHFIELD — The Smithfield-Selma varsity girls basketball team lost their its straight game, falling 62-39 to visiting Harnett Central on Friday.


The Lady Spartans (4-8) of the 3-A Greater Neuse River Conference fell behind 21-11 after one quarter and never caught up. Sophomore Khaliyah Peacock led the team in scoring with 11 points to go along with four rebounds, two assists and a block. Zniah Thaggard and Jahni Santos each had nine points. Santos added three rebounds and four steals. 


SSS starts conference play Friday, Jan. 11, at home against West Johnston (7-6) at 6:30 p.m.


Harnett central (62)

No stats available.

Smithfield-selma (39)

Peacock 11, Thaggard 9, Santos 9, Moody 5, 3, McQueen 2


Score by quarters:

Harnett Central 21 14 11 16—62

Smithfield-Selma 11 6 17 5—39



Spartans lose fifth straight

SMITHFIELD — A disastrous second quarter cost the Smithfield-Selma varsity boys basketball team at home against Harnett Central on Friday night, leading to the Spartans fifth straight loss 71-67.


Matt Cuddington, head coach of the Spartans (4-8) of the 3-A Greater Neuse Conference, is frustrated with his team’s losing streak because they are losing games because of one bad quarter. Over the last three games, SSS has lost one quarter by at least eight points while being close in every other quarter.


“Seems like we’ve been close in every quarter except for one in the last five games,” head coach Matt Cuddington said. “We have to get back to playing defense first, rebounding second and winning every quarter.”


Spartan standout senior Anthony Council has averaged 27.6 points per game during the losing streak — including 28 against the Trojans (4-4) of the 3-A Tri-County Conference. Council also added four rebounds, three assists and five steals. Senior De’Maje Hicks had 10 points, 11 rebounds and two steals— all season highs. Junior Elijah Weir also had seven points.


Harnett central (71)

Williams 17, Shipman 13, J. Perkins 13, Mullins 11, Swan 7, K. Perkins 7, Davis 3

Smithfield-selma (67)

Council 28, Hicks 10, Weir 7, Barnes 6, Howard 5, Tyson 4, George 3, Faulk 3, Sanders 1


Score by quarters:

Harnett Central 10 26 21 14—71

Smithfield-Selma 15 8 20 24—67

Second-half offense fails Panthers

FOUR OAKS — After a valiant first-half effort from the North Johnston varsity boys basketball team, head coach Chris Batten said the second-half offense took them out of Friday’s game against South Johnston as the Panthers fell, 65-46.


Batten said he felt his team did a really good job of limiting a good offense to 29 points in the first half. The Trojans (10-1) of the 3-A Greater Neuse Conference are a team predicated on moving the ball around to find the best shot and Batten said his team did a good job of making the South Johnston players have to take shots on the move. 


The Panthers (5-5) of the 2-A Eastern Plain Conference offense were a bit below their 32 points per game at halftime with 25 points, but he said he felt it was pretty good for the majority of the first half. Batten said the second half is when the offense stopped working the way it should.


“Late third quarter and the entire fourth quarter, we played too selfish,” Batten said. “Our offense became one-on-one dribble attack and that does not work well for us. It took all of the flow from our offense and we went away from what had made us successful earlier. We have to find it within ourselves to play a complete game on both ends of the court at some point.”


For the second straight game, junior Carsse Lucas lead the team in scoring with 12 points. Senior Sayon Foye put in 10 points and junior Justin Vann added eight points.


The Panthers haven’t been consistent on offense all season, and Batten has said multiple times that their offense is behind their defense. North Johnston is 0-4 when a team scores 65 points and 5-1 when a team scores less than 65 points.


North Johnston will host Franklin Academy (6-8) of the 1-A North Central Athletic Conference Wednesday night at 7:30. South Johnston will host Corinth Holders (5-6) on Tuesday at 8 p.m. 

North Johnston(46)

Lucas 12, Foye 10, Vann 8, Rodrigues 7, Hinnant 6, York 2, Hicks 1

South Johnston (65)

No stats available.


Score by quarters:

North Johnston 13 12 10 11—46

South Johnston 13 16 17 19—65