Lady Warriors thump Ladybirds 55-28
Jimmy Lewis | Restoration NewsMedia
Southern Nash's Jermia Walker (4) dribbles around the defense of Hunt's Kennedi Smith during the first half of Tuesday's game at Hunt. Walker had 17 points, but Southern Nash remained winless with a 55-28 setback.
WILSON — If the best things in life are free, then the Hunt High varsity girls basketball team took full advantage of the gratitude Tuesday night.
Mired in the throes of a three-game losing streak that saw the Lady Warriors drop contests by an average of just over 34 points, the Lady Warriors finally entered the win column in 3-A Big East Conference play by getting to the foul line.
Combining a 2-3 zone with a 12-for-18 showing in the free-throw department, the Lady Warriors didn’t allow Southern Nash to score a field goal until well into the second quarter in coasting to a 55-28 decision.
Hunt climbed to 2-4 and won for the first time in three Big East outings as Southern Nash remained winless through three games. The nonconference schedule for the Ladybirds was canceled due to a mandate from Nash County Public Schools related to COVID-19.
“They realize now that you’ve got to put the ball up to get to the foul line,” Hunt head coach Lorraine Creech said. “And I think our free throws were pretty good tonight.”
Indeed, Hunt utilized its edge in penetration and rebounding to rack up the whistles and march to the foul line with efficiency. But the Lady Warriors didn’t have to deal with many threats offensively from the Ladybirds. The 2-3 zone allowed the Lady Warriors to effectively address the driving of sophomore point guard Jermia Walker, and Southern Nash didn’t score a basket that wasn’t a free throw until Walker hit a jumper with 5:35 left until halftime.
“I think that’s our best defense to start out with,” Creech said of the 2-3 zone. “And then, when we realized they were shooting them outside shots the second half, we had to go with a 3-2 to put more pressure on that No. 12 (Brooke Lucas). And then, No. 4 (Walker), she would drive with it — that would cut that driving down, too.”
Hunt’s backcourt, led by the underclassman combo of freshman Ti’Asia Taylor and sophomore Kennedi Smith, performed capably, with Smith leading the way with 15 points. Taylor, as more of the slasher between the two, had 13 points.
That was complemented by a three-pronged post attack of sophomore Kayla Haley, junior Ariyanna Carlton and freshman Gracelynn Wolzen. Haley tossed in 10 points with Carlton adding seven. Wolzen finished with six and displayed deceptive post moves around the basket.
“They’re working together,” Creech said of the Hunt interior game. “They started clicking, looking out for each other. I like that. They started realizing that they can play off each other, and that helped us a lot on the inside.”
Hunt, which scored the game’s first seven points — all from Taylor — rushed out to a 26-12 halftime lead as Carlton established her presence inside during the second quarter. The lead for the Lady Warriors reached as many as 29 on Smith’s 3-pointer to make it 53-24 in the waning stages of the fourth.
Hunt did have to deal with an injury to freshman Kamrynn Phaby, who injured her ankle in the third quarter and had to be helped off the floor after being down for an extended period.
Walker’s 17 points led Southern Nash, while Lucas had nine from her shooting guard spot. Sophomore Dari’elle Whitley was the only other Ladybird to score.
The Lady Warriors remain home Friday to face Franklinton.
SOUTHERN NASH (28)
Whitley 2, Walker 17, Lucas 9.
Taylor 13, Smith 15, Wolzen 6, Haley 10, Carlton 7, Phaby 2, Earp 2.
Score by quarters:
Southern Nash 2 10 8 8 — 28
Hunt 11 15 14 15 — 55
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