South Johnston win streak hits 14 games
South Johnston’s girls basketball team topped county rivals Corinth Holders and Smithfield-Selma on back-to-back nights this week, adding to its Two Rivers 3A Conference lead.
South downed Corinth Holders 51-28 Tuesday and beat SSS 66-32 Wednesday.
McKinley Johnson had six assists and six steals for South in the win over Corinth Holders, while Anna Webster led South’s scoring with 15 points.
Webster had a career-high 31 points in the win over SSS, while Alexis Massengill pulled down 12 rebounds. The Trojans had 17 assists and just seven turnovers in the win.
“The girls have been playing well together and I am pleased with the team effort,” said South Johnston coach Ronda Langdon Johnson. “It feels good to be on a winning streak but the hardest part about winning back to back is that everyone wants you even more and you have to bring your mental and physical focus every night that you play. ... We have four regular season games left and none will be given to us.”
Diamond Blackston had 24 points in the loss for SSS.
Blackston shines for SSS
Smithfield-Selma girls basketball coach William Sanders changed his starting lineup a bit before the Spartans hosted Western Harnett and he did so with an eye on defense. It worked for a triumph Tuesday night.
“I had my two guards out there (Diamond Blackston and Dannya Tavarez) but the other three were all new starters—I put them out there for defense,” Sanders said. “I think that is what’s going to take us through the rest of the conference.
“Offensively, if we score, that’s fine but the defense will give us the ball back.”
Sanders’ plan worked perfectly as starters Charlise Degraffenreind, Diamond Fant and Ladaijah Godwin, along with Holly Rabil and Parker Watson off the bench, helped the Spartans frustrate the Eagles, holding their guests to just eight first half points and dominating the glass all game long.
Smithfield-Selma (3-15, 2-3) held just a four-point lead at the break, however, before Blackston scored 10 of the Spartans’ first 11 points in the third quarter to help spring the game wide open.
The junior point guard connected for a pair of three-pointers in the pivotal third quarter that saw the Spartans double their lead and effectively handled the Eagles’ press in the fourth quarter to preserve the victory.
“We’ve been pushing her a lot to give more leadership on the floor,” Sanders said of Blackston. “She gave us plenty of leadership tonight; she’s improving.”
Blackston’s 22 points led all scorers. Tavarez finished her impressive night with 11 points, 11 rebounds and five steals.
Old School Prom Night to help SSS girls team
Smithfield-Selma High School’s girls basketball team will host an “Old School Prom Night” from 6-10 p.m. on March 8 in the SSS cafeteria to raise funds to support the program. Adults (ages 18 and up) are invited to this semi-formal event featuring dinner and entertainment. Tickets are $20 for couples or $15 for individuals and can be purchased from any Smithfield-Selma player or coach. For info, contact William Sanders at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-934-5191.