Kinston ends run by Northwood girls
Pittsboro Northwood coach Cameron Vernon wasn’t sure what kind of team he had after losing 80 percent of his scoring from a 26-4 squad a year ago.
What he ended up with was a team that was a few shots away from the East Regional semifinals. After a valiant comeback effort, Vernon’s Chargers fell 65-57 to Kinston on Friday night in the Mideast 2-A Regional girls’ final.
“That’s a really good team out there,” Vernon said of Kinston. “They’ve got an inside game, they’ve got an outside game, they’ve got a dynamic point guard. You have to play flawless in these types of games, and our shots didn’t fall tonight, bottom line.”
While Northwood made only 2 of 18 shots from 3-point range, missing all seven attempts in the fourth quarter, Kinston (24-4) drained seven 3-pointers. Monique Lofton made four 3-pointers to lead the Vikings with 15 points, while Anshonee Addison and Alexis Williams scored 13 each and Brittany Drumgoole added 11.
Jasmine Atkins led all scorers with 22 points, while Shontai Totten scored 19 for the Chargers (24-5).
Kinston lead for most of the night, grabbing a 55-43 lead with 5:20 to play on a back-door layup by Addison.
Suddenly, though, Northwood went on a tear to make a game of it. Atkins scored on a driving basket, Totten on a fast break, Atkins on a follow and Jasmine Harris on another fastbreak to cut the lead to four. The 8-0 run happened in just over a minute, and the Charger crowd was on its feet.
“We’ve done this before when we’ve played really good teams,” Vernon said. “We’ve come back and fought, so that’s what we kept preaching: ‘We’re going to come back; we’re going to come back.’”
But the Chargers couldn’t come all the way back, missing six 3-pointers in the final three minutes.
“We’re not a 3-point shooting team, but that was what was given to us,” Vernon said. “They ran a box-and-one on Shontai and really took Shontai out of it. Gabby (Mehringer) and Lexi (Brower) can make shots. Just tonight, those weren’t falling.”
Kinston sank 8 of 12 free throws in the final 1:22 to hold on.
After the game, Vernon already was looking forward to the 2013-14 season, when Northwood moves to the 3-A Carolinas 8 Conference. He will have three starters returning — Totten, Atkins and Jasmine Harris — as the Chargers move up.
“I was asked at the beginning of the season what did I expect,” Vernon said. “I said, ‘I don’t know, but I really like this team.’ We lost 80 percent of our scoring from last year on a 26-4 team, and this (season) we’re 24-5. That says a lot about those girls.
“They really stepped up, they have a lot of heart, and they have a great work ethic. The future is bright. We’re going to have a real challenge going into that 3-A Carolinas 8 next year. It’s going to be fun but challenging at the same time.”
Kinston 65, Northwood 57
KINSTON — Monique Lofton 15, Anshonee Addison 13, Alexis Williams 13, Brittany Drumgoole 11, Lydia Rivers 9, Hannah Vermillion 2, Takerian Harper 2.
NORTHWOOD — Jasmine Atkins 22, Shontai Totten 19, Alexis Brower 7, Gabby Meringer 5, Mariah Morrow 2, Jasmine Harris 2.
3-point FG—Kinston 7 (Lofton 4, Addison 2, Williams); Northwood 2 (Brower, Totten. Total fouls—Kinston 14, Northwood 22.
Records — Kinston 24-4, Northwood 24-5.