Lady Panthers’ quick start results in rivalry win

The Panthers’ Levossie Taylor cuts inside of Princeton’s Takiria Cummings in North Johnston’s 50-22 win Friday night. (Michael Held photo)

BY MICHAEL HELD

Sports editor

PRINCETON—Everything was working for the North Johnston girls basketball team in the first quarter of their game last Friday night at Princeton and the fast start was more than enough to lead the Panthers to a 50-22 win.

North Johnston’s trapping half court defense and full court press created several turnovers and the Panthers shot out to a 21-3 advantage after the opening quarter on the strength of their transition game.

Mackenzie Gibson, Tayanna Jones, Jordyn Scott and Levossie Taylor all scored at least four points through the first eight minutes.

North Johnston coach Jay Poole liked what he saw in the opening minutes but saw plenty of things to improve upon as well.

“Definitely trying to force the tempo and force turnovers helped a ton in the first half,” said Poole. “But then we got sloppy with the ball and we’ve got to do a better job with that but a lot of that had to do with Princeton.

“They’re scrappy and they didn’t quit…I’m just happy to get out of here with a win.”

The Bulldogs righted the ship in the second quarter as they began to cut down on the number of turnovers. Baskets from Reanna Braswell, Hayden Hinson, Tinsley Moore and Emily Ricks prevented the visitors from adding to their lead until the third quarter.

Jones and Taylor helped North Johnston (3-0) stretch the lead in the third quarter but it was Jordyn Scott who led the Panthers with 14 points on the night. Jones had 12 and Taylor added 10.

“We’ve just got to keep working to get better,” said Princeton coach Paula Wooten. “We need to keep on keeping on.”

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