J-M advances, Northwood ousted in 3rd round of states
Northwood coach Cameron Vernon wasn’t sure what kind of team he had after losing 80 percent of his scoring from a 26-4 squad a year ago.
What he ended up with was a team that was a few shots away from the East Regional semifinals. After a valiant comeback effort, Vernon’s Chargers fell 65-57 to Kinston on Friday night in the third round of the NCHSAA 2A State Tournament.
“That’s a really good team out there,” Vernon said of Kinston. “They’ve got an inside game, they’ve got an outside game, they’ve got a dynamic point guard. You have to play flawless in these types of games, and our shots didn’t fall tonight, bottom line.”
While Northwood made only 2 of 18 shots from three-point range, missing all seven attempts in the fourth quarter, Kinston (24-4) drained seven three-pointers. Monique Lofton made four three-pointers to lead the Vikings with 15 points, while Anshonee Addison and Alexis Williams scored 13 each and Brittany Drumgoole added 11.
Jasmine Atkins led all scorers with 22 points, while Shontai Totten scored 19 for the Chargers (24-5).
Kinston led most of the night, grabbing a 55-43 lead with 5:20 to play on a back-door layup by Addison.
Suddenly, though, Northwood went on a tear to make a game of it. Atkins scored on a driving basket, Totten on a fast break, Atkins on a follow and Jasmine Harris on another fastbreak to cut the lead to four. The 8-0 run happened in just over a minute, and the Charger crowd was on its feet.
“We’ve done this before when we’ve played really good teams,” Vernon said. “We’ve come back and fought, so that’s what we kept preaching: ‘We’re going to come back; we’re going to come back.’”
But the Chargers couldn’t come all the way back, missing six three-pointers in the final three minutes.
“We’re not a three-point shooting team, but that was what was given to us,” Vernon said. “They ran a box-and-one on Shontai and really took Shontai out of it. Gabby (Mehringer) and Lexi (Brower) can make shots. Just tonight, those weren’t falling.”
Kinston sank 8 of 12 free throws in the final 1:22 to hold on. After the game, Vernon already was looking forward to the 2013-14 season, when Northwood moves to the 3A Carolinas 8 Conference. He will have three starters returning — Totten, Atkins and Jasmine Harris — as the Chargers move up.
“I was asked at the beginning of the season what did I expect,” Vernon said. “I said, ‘I don’t know, but I really like this team.’ We lost 80 percent of our scoring from last year on a 26-4 team, and this (season) we’re 24-5. That says a lot about those girls.
“They really stepped up. They have a lot of heart and they have a great work ethic. The future is bright. We’re going to have a real challenge going into that 3A Carolinas 8 next year. It’s going to be fun but challenging at the same time.”
Lady Jets defeat familiar foe
From the Sanford Herald
Jordan-Matthews 68, Reidsville 60
REIDSVILLE - Clashing for the fourth time since Feb. 12 and the eighth time in the last two basketball seasons, No. 5-seeded Jordan-Matthews (26-4) beat Mid-State rival and top-seeded Reidsville (23-4) in the third round of the NCHSAA 2A State Tournament Friday night.
The Lady Jets and Lady Rams split the four meetings this season but Jordan-Matthews goes on to the East Region semifinals/state quarterfinals in Fayetteville Friday night. Jordan-Matthews will play its third straight Mid-State rival, No. 11 Graham (19-10), in Crown Arena Friday at 8:30 p.m. Jordan-Matthews is 2-1 versus Graham this season.
Graham has upset East Duplin, 56-30, Whiteville, 60-43, and Northside, 55-48, to reach the last eight.
Jordan-Matthews and Reidsville were tied, 26-26, at the half before the Lady Jets won the third quarter 23-14.
Senior Mylia Garner, who's committed to play at Charlotte next year, scored 18 points as did frontcourt mate Taylor Paige. Center Erin Bristow scored 16 points for the Lady Jets.
Kinston vs. Bunn will be the first 2A game, tipping at 7 p.m. Friday, at Crown Arena.