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Panthers cruise past Nash Central, 73-42

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J'Nadia Maye (#11) goes to shoot during a game against Nash Central on Monday, Feb. 18, 2019.

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By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector

Monday, February 18, 2019

North Pitt head girls basketball coach William Knight preached focus ahead of his squad’s opener to the Eastern Plains 2-A Conference tournament Monday night against Nash Central. 

The message was well received, as the Panthers dominated in a 73-42 victory. 

NP was led by the trio of Ashanti Hines, Aquarius Pettaway and J’Nadia May, with Hines leading all scorers with 24 points. Pettaway dropped 22, while May added 18. 

“Right now, if we stay focused we’ll be okay,” Knight said. “I got no complaints (about the win). As long as we stay focused, play as a team and play for each other, we’ll be fine.” 

The Panthers gained the lead from the opening tip and never looked back, going on a 15-0 run in the first quarter that eventually saw the scoreboard read 17-2 after one.

The run continued into the second, where the Panthers added another five points before Nash Central’s Zhaterrica Perry scored a basket and drew a foul to get the Bulldogs on the board once again. 

NP had no problems locking down shooters, with Perry (17 points) being the only Bulldog to break the 10-point threshold. With Pettaway patrolling the inside, the Panthers relied on Hines and May at the arc to produce steals and create turnovers. 

A 36-15 lead at the break kept the Panthers in firm grasp of the lead for the remainder of the game. 

The Bulldogs gained momentum in the fourth quarter as Knight rotated deeper into his bench to allow for other players to gain some playing time. Perry continued to attempt to put together a run, earning trips to the free throw line and distributing the ball, but the Panthers defense continued to close out quickly and force bad shots. 

With the win, NP advances to semifinals, where the Panthers will play SouthWest Edgecombe on Wednesday. The game will be played at Nash Central, with tip-off scheduled for 6 p.m.

Tuesday’s games

The Eastern Carolina 3-A/4-A and ECC 2-A Conference tournaments will tip off Tuesday night. 

In 2-A competition, the top-seeded Greene Central boys will enjoy a first-round bye, while North Lenoir takes on Ayden-Grifton at South Lenoir. In the girls tournament, A-G will travel to face South Lenoir and Greene Central will hit the road to face North Lenoir.

In the boys 3-A/4-A tournament, top seed South Central will sit back, while D.H. Conley hosts Eastern Wayne. J.H. Rose’s boys team will also hit the road to face Southern Wayne. 

On the girls side, the Vikings will play host to New Bern, while the Lady Rampants host Southern Wayne. 

Contact Jake Keator at jkeator@reflector.com, 252-329-9594 and follow @JakeKeatorDR on Twitter.

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