Clinton hosted No. 12-seed North Pitt on Thursday night in the second round of the NCHSAA 2A Basketball tournament. The second round matchup had the makings of a very good game. The Lady Panthers, touted a team of long athletic players that liked to play an up-tempo game, much like Clinton. But a well executed game plan by the home team neutralized North Pitt’s standout player and allowed the Lady Dark Horses to dominate the game early and run away with another blowout win, 86-50.
The game opened at a torrid pace, with each team running and gunning. Clinton’s Ashlyn Williams went toe to toe with North Pitt’s Ny’Sanique Langley early in the quarter, as the teams played on even terms for the first couple of minutes. Mikayla Boykin and Alex Canady soon heated up the and Lady Horses three-pronged offensive attack was too much for the Lady Panthers. Williams early scoring spree resulted in 10 first quarter points for the sophomore guard. Boykin added 12 first quarter points and Canady bombed in five points to pace the Lady Dark Horses out to the 31-16 first quarter lead.
The Lady Horses continue to build on their lead in the second quarter. Canady carried the load for the Clinton offense in the second quarter, hitting two 3-pointers on her way to 12 second quarter points. At the other end of the court, Clinton’s Tanaziah Chestnutt relentlessly chased Langley, frustrating the Lady Panther star and rendering the North Pitt offense ineffective, and resulted in a 56-27 Clinton lead at the half.
The Lady Dark Horses continued to build on their lead in the third quarter with Boykin and Williams going for 10 and 9 points respectively, while Chestnutt continued to harass Langley, limiting the sharpshooter to just 5 points in the third. When Boykin converted a three point play with just over a minute remaining the Clinton lead had ballooned to 41 and the clock set to continuous run for the remainder of the game.
Clinton’s reserves came in for mop up duty late in the fourth quarter sealing the 86-50 win. The home crowd began to celebrate the win and look forward to Saturday’s third round match-up with the winner of the 7 – 16 match-up between Southwest Edgecombe and North Johnston.
After the game Clinton head coach Chris Owens applauded his teams defensive effort, saying “We knew that she (Langley) could put points on the board so our plan was to play a box in one on her and try to take her off her game. Chestnutt did a great job putting pressure on her all night and Langley got very frustrated. We felt like if we could slow her down, our pressure would give them problems and it did.” Owens was also pleased with his team’s effort on offense, adding “down the stretch Boykin, Williams and Canady have all been playing well and they really had a good game tonight, they combined for 75 of our points tonight, they were all three on fire.”
The Lady Horses were once again led by Boykin with 32 points. Williams scored 22 and Canady added 21 for Clinton. North Pitt was paced by Ny’Sanique Langley’s 26 points and Ashanti Hines with 10.
The win improves Clinton’s record to 26-2 and sends them to the third round on Saturday where they will once again play host, this time against the No. 7 seed, Southwest Edgecombe. Game time is set for 6 p.m.
Reach Daron Barefoot at [email protected]