Lady Jackets can't slow Athens Drive standout
Athens Drive blanked former Tri-Nine Conference mate Lee County in the first quarter and Lady Jaguar Hunter Grace gave the Lady Yellow Jackets problems for all four quarters as Athens Drive (5-4) topped Lee County 65-35 Friday night.
Concluding three games in four nights, the Lady Jackets (4-6, 1-2) played better for parts of the last three periods. Lee County forced 24 Jaguar turnovers and guard Shantel Bennett led nine Lady Jackets who scored with 10 points.
Athens Drive's start, which was 16-0 through a quarter and 18-0 shortly into the second, was too much to overcome.
Hunter, a junior who plays any spot on the floor where the Lady Jags need her, from point guard and slashing ball-handler to center and rebounder in the low post, scored 35 points in the Lady Jaguar 60-38 win over Lee County in November. She totaled 33 points, 15 rebounds, five steals and four assists Friday night.
Hunter scored 10 of the 16 Athens Drive points in the first quarter and had 19 by halftime as the Lady Jaguars led 33-9.
Things didn't need to be tougher for the Lady Jackets but they made their deficit larger by going 3 for 13 at the foul line in the half.
Jacket guards Tara Speelman and Quitta Wilson had success driving aggressively to the hoop, for their own hoops or to create for a teammate, through the second half. Bennett hit the only Lee County three-pointer of the game and scored seven points in the second half.
Wilson finished with five points. Whitney Love, Jasmine Person and Speelman had four points each.
Along with Hunter's 33 points, Meredith Williams, Gabby Respess and Briana McCrimmon scored six each for the Lady Jaguars.
The Lady Jackets will have some time to regroup from this busy week. After Christmas, in the Yellow Jacket Holiday Basketball Classic starting Dec. 27, they'll face three games in four days again. Lee County will face Chatham Central in the first round. The other three match-ups on the first day of the classic will be Apex vs. Union Pines, Southern Lee vs. Northern Vance and Northwood vs. Hoke County.