By MICHAEL HELD
KENLY—There was an all-hands-on deck approach for the North Johnston girls basketball team last week as the Panthers hosted and participated in the North Johnston Holiday Invitational Basketball Tournament.
With key players either out or hampered with injury, many different Panthers had to step up over the two days and did so with first a 42-34 semi-final win over Durham School of the Arts and then a convincing 50-33 championship game triumph over Union last Thursday night.
In the title game, Jada Santiago was the difference maker in the paint as she scored 11 points, had 11 rebounds, came up with four steals and a pair of blocked shots on her way to winning the MVP award for the tournament.
Jordyn Scott, who was also named to the all-tournament team, ran the offense and the point guard had 14 points and five steals in a game that the Panthers all but decided by halftime when they had a 31-14 lead.
Scott and Arial Pearce each had six points in the second quarter to help extend what was a seven-point lead after the first quarter and Mackenzie Gibson led all Panther scorers by the end of the game when she finished with 15.
“It takes a team and they filled in as well as I could have asked for,” said North Johnston coach Jay Poole. “Overall, they executed our game plan so I’m very proud of them. To win this first tournament we’ve had in a while is great and hopefully we can continue to keep this tournament going.”
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