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Chargers open in style, top Panthers

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Ayden-Grifton's Ricky Johnson, center, dribbles during their game against North Pitt on Nov. 28, 2017. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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By Corey Jones
The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

BETHEL — Ayden-Grifton’s boys’ basketball team opened its season with a road win in a back-and-forth game over North Pitt, 60-57, on Tuesday night in Bethel.

The Panthers took their second lead of the game 3:55 left in the fourth quarter, but their defense wasn’t enough for the Chargers’ inside post game. The hosts led only one other time, scoring first in the game, but the Chargers quickly answered, tying it up and from there controlled the tempo of the game until early in the fourth.

With NP trailing by two, junior Matthew Council was put at the line with less than 50 seconds to play, given the opportunity to tie the game at 59-59. The cheering fans quickly shifted from the Panthers to the Chargers jumping up and down with excitement after Council missed both critical free throws and dropped his head down in frustration.

Ayden-Grifton’s James Richardson was then put on the line, making one of his two free throws and stretching the lead to three for A-G. NP failed to answer on the opposite end of the court before the final horn.

“Nerve racking when he got put at the line. He missed two free throws though, and we got a big rebound and came back down and scored, so I can’t be nothing but happy about that,” A-G coach John Moye said.

Tyler Johnson had 18 points and Richardson 14 for the Chargers. Council and Nasqueonta Staton combined for 26 points for the Panthers. 

“I thought we did a great job defensively. We showed a lot of grit and had a lot of guys who hadn’t played a lot of games,” Moye said. “I thought that we also just rebounded the ball very well and if we continue to do that, we’ll be all right.”

GIRLS’ GAME

North Pitt 53, Ayden-Grifton 23

Turnovers were a factor for both teams but the Panthers were the only team to capitalize, taking the lead early and never looking back in a comfortable 30-point win in the girls’ game.

Senior Nyjanique Langley was the go-to girl, racking up 32 points for the Panthers. The Chargers struggled to get rolling, going 9-for-43 from the floor on 20 percent shooting.

Langley was the only double-digit scorer for either team.

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

John Paul II 48, New Life 9

JPII (48)

Lacey Ross 21, Megan Zelaski 3, Nicole Wynn 16, Nuvia Villeda 4, Maggie Geiger 2, Madison Tiznan 2.

NL (9)

Rachel Upchurch 5, Abigail Winstead 2, Olivia Kelly 2.

Record: JPII 1-2.

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