Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.
GOLDSBORO — With a starter injured, another dealing with heat exhaustion and two more dealing with foul trouble, the Princeton High varsity girls basketball team couldn’t recover from a disastrous second quarter at archrival Rosewood, losing 68-56 on Feb. 6.
It was the first 1-A Carolina Conference loss for the Lady Bulldogs (12-6, 8-1 CC). Before the injury to LeOnna Nelson with two minutes left in the first, the Lady Bulldogs had control of the game with a 12-6 lead in the first quarter. But after the first quarter ended with Princeton up 14-10, they fell victim to bad luck. Hailey Woodall got heat exhaustion from Rosewood’s hot gym and point guard Meredith Wooten and primary scorer Takiria Cummings were relegated to the bench with three and four fouls respectively.
“When Meredith went out, I feel like we panicked a little bit because she’s our ball handler and we didn’t handle adversity very well,” Princeton head coach Paula Wooten said. “You got to keep your composure and move on, even though it’s a rivalry game.”
The Lady Eagles (15-5, 10-0 CC) took advantage with a 24-6 run to take a 34-20 lead into the locker room. Wooten would return in the third quarter with eight points to cut the lead to 11.
“She took over the game and tried to carry the team on her back and I think she was tired in the end,” Paula said. “They were all tired. The heat in the gym played a big part in that.”
Once Cummings came back in the game, they were able to cut the lead to four with three minutes left. Cummings and Wooten scored 14 of their 20 fourth-quarter points. But a couple of 3-pointers from Braylee Butts sealed the win for the Lady Eagles.
“It seemed like everything was against us, but we could’ve easily given up and got beat by 30 points,” Paula said. “The kids who went in — like London Cook, Kayleigh Klein, and Michaela Radford — those kids played hard and I’m proud of them. I think that might be some valuable experience for them in the future, because we only have one senior.”
Butts finished with a game-high 23 points. Wooten put in a team-high 22 points.
Wooten 22, Braswell 12, Cummings 8, Woodall 7, Nelson 2, Moore 1, Cook 4.
Butts 23, Marak 9, Dozier 9, Bell 5, Butts 6, Myers 11, Morris 3, Sanders 2.
Score by quarters:
Princeton 14 6 16 20 — 56
Rosewood 10 24 13 21 — 68