By MICHAEL HELD
KENLY—It may have been a tough test the North Johnston girls basketball team faced when it hosted Farmville Central last week in each team’s Eastern Plains 2A Conference opener, but the Panthers passed it with a 62-59 win to remain unbeaten on the season.
Tayanna Jones had 28 points and Mackenzie Gibson had a pair of key late baskets to hold off the Jaguars’ late charge which ended when a last second shot to tie the game missed.
“This was an awesome first step,” North Johnston coach Jay Poole said of the Panthers’ first foray into EPC play this season. “They have a lot of size, they’re always pretty quick and they have some freshmen who are contributing so they have a balanced team. We were a little bit undersized down low but we battled.”
Jones got off to a quick start connecting on three 3-pointers in the opening quarter alone and North Johnston (12-0 overall, 1-0 EPC) built a double-digit lead by halftime thanks to a big second period.
Arial Pearce scored seven points in the second quarter, Lindsey Massengill hit a big three and Jada Santiago went 4-OF-4 from the foul line as the Panthers were successful at beating and then attacking Farmville Central’s full court pressure.
“They main key for us this game was we did not turn the ball over against their full court trap,” said Poole. “We took care of the ball against their different presses and then we attacked it well and they normally get a lot of their offense off of that 1-3-1 press.”
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