BENSON — Jarmeia Holder gave West Johnston’s girls basketball team the cushion it needed to defeat South Johnston on Tuesday night in a nonconference duel.
Holder came up with steals and layups on three straight possessions to start the fourth period and propel West Johnston to a 12-point lead as the Wildcats (3-4) won 50-42.
Holder, a junior guard, finished with 18 points to lead all scorers and Avvette Smith added 12 points for host West Johnston.
“We went out [on defense] to try and pick off some passes,” West Johnston coach Bill Pepicello said. “Jarmeia did a nice job of getting three steals and got to where she needed to be. We’re just happy with the win and now we have to get for Smithfield-Selma [in their Greater Neuse River 4A Conference opener].”
South Johnston (1-5), a member of the Eastern Carolina 3A Conference, trailed 28-21 at halftime but pulled within 36-33 on a basket by Kyle Medlin with 35 seconds left in the third period.
Shalisa Davis scored for West Johnston with 20 seconds left in the period and then Holder took over.
South Johnston still had some life left in the fourth period, however. Down 45-33, the Trojans went on a 9-0 run of their own – getting seven points from Anna Webster during the streak – to pull within 45-42 with 1:33 left.
Holder sank three of four free throws in the final 30.6 seconds and Smith added a bucket to give the young Wildcats the eight-point victory.
West Johnston has just one senior starter – Eboni Robinson. The Wildcats are a work in progress, but have the potential to put some points on the scoreboard, Pepicello said.
“We just need to play hard,” Pepicello said. “What’s going to happen is going to happen. We just need to play hard and get better every game. We are getting the shots that we want. We just have to knock down more of those shots.
“That is where we are every night. If we are hitting, we will be OK. In our league, everybody can score.”