Serving Kenly, Selma, Smithfield, Princeton & Pine Level since 1973

Panthers fall in first round

Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.


CLINTON — Tasked with dueling against Clinton High in the first round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Dual Team Tennis Championship, the North Johnston girls tennis team had its season ended in a 6-0 loss Tuesday.

Defeating the Panthers’ (16-5) No. 1 singles player Arial Pearce and No. 2 player Samantha Davis in third-set tie breakers, the host Dark Horses (16-1) put the match away without doubles play. Despite being shut out, head coach David Anderson was proud of how his team performed.

“It was one of the best matches we’ve played...” Anderson said. “One point here or there and it’s 3-3 going into doubles. It’s good to go out knowing we’ve done the best we possibly could.”

The other four Panther singles players — Alexia Dixon, Mayelly Oliveros and Ashley Bunn — were deposed of in straight sets. Playing on court five, Batten played her opponent the closest, falling in a first-set tiebreaker, then 6-4 in the second set.

With the loss, the historic season for the Panthers is over. Pearce-Davis and Oliveros-Bunn will continue playing on Friday in the regional tournament’s doubles competition, which will be contested at Greene Central. Dixon will represent North Johnston in singles play.


Isabella Faison (C) def. Arial Pearce 6-3, 2-6, 10-4; Rebekah Byrd (C) def. Samatha Davis 6-3, 6-7, 14-12; Bailey Spell (C) def. Alexia Dixon 6-1, 6-3; Nayeli Jaramillo (C) def. Mayelly Oliveros 6-0, 6-0; Maegan Byrd (C) def. Sarah Batten 7-6, 6-4; Kendall Spell (C) def. Ashley Bunn 6-0, 6-2.