The Roxboro Community School women’s basketball team, coming off a win last Friday against Eno River Academy, was looking to make it two in a row with a Tuesday night clash against Granville Central, who were playing in only their second game of the season.
The Bulldogs took the initial lead in this game, as they were up 2-0 and 4-1 in the first quarter, courtesy of baskets from Adriana Williams and Paige Melton. However, Khalia Morton, the Panthers’ leading scorer on the night with 18 points, started to get going shortly after the early RCS buckets, as she recorded eight of her 18 points in the opening quarter on the way to giving her team a 64-26 win.
“Khalia Morton has an impact on the whole team,” said Tammy Harrington, Granville Central’s assistant coach. “Usually, if Khalia’s not having a good game, it takes a lot of her energy. A little side talk tonight so we could say “look, this season needs to start well. You’re a senior, you need to take that leadership tole. She took it and ran away with it.””
Granville Central continued to build onto its first quarter lead in the second period. The Panthers outscored the Bulldogs 14-4 in the second quarter, 17-3 in the third, and 15-2 in the fourth. The Panthers kept forcing RCS into turnovers all night long, and when the Bulldogs did have a clean look, Charnazsha Marshall was there to block the shot.
“A great game, collective effort from everyone,” said Harrington. “Seniors took the lead in making sure that underclassmen were listening, where they needed to be. Collective effort in the win tonight.”
While Morton was the offensive star for her team, Coriyah White had 11 points. Zahera Aaloul had nine points, Donaisha Long had eight points, Jansen McFalls had six points, Arianna White and Marshall had four points apiece, and Donnisha Long had two points. Up next for the Panthers is a road contest at Orange High School on Tuesday, Dec. 3.
“I hadn’t seen anything from them,” said Earl Bailey, head women’s basketball coach at RCS. “I know they lost to Science and Math like we did by a pretty good margin. Our girls didn’t match Granville Central’s intensity. I told our girls before the game that Granville Central was going to be physical, they were going to go for loose balls and get on the floor. Our girls didn’t respond to that.”
One player who shined, however, was Dulce Garcia, the lone sophomore on the team.
“I kept putting her in,” said Bailey. “I kept trying to find out who’s going to hustle. At that point in the game, it didn’t really matter what the score is. You’re still supposed to keep the intensity level. Some girls just give up. Score shouldn’t dictate how well you play and how hard you go.”
While Bailey’s Bulldogs did not achieve their goal of obtaining two wins before Thanksgiving break, they have the rest of the week off before they get back on the court and get to work.
“We start conference play after Thanksgiving,” said Bailey. “We start out with Franklin Academy, and I’m hoping we’ll get some feedback from other coaches and see how they’re progressing. It’s really how we start into the conference season. These six games before conference, they’re not a barometer of where we need to be because it’s like a warm-up, like a preseason. Going into conference play with a clean slate, we need to figure out how to clean things up.”
Tori Bailey’s nine points led the Bulldog scoring effort. Melton finished with seven, Michayaj Jay had five, Williams had three and Garcia had two.