WENDELL — The Corinth Holders girls basketball team has taken many positive steps this season, just its third in existence.
But in the championship game of the second annual Corinth Holders Holiday Classic, the Pirates were reminded there is still more progress to make in a battle with Enloe.
The Eagles used an aggressive approach to take a nine-point lead after the opening quarter and coasted to a 43-31 win over the host Pirates.
Corinth Holders turned the ball over seven times alone in the opening period of play and, despite more than holding its own the remainder of the contest, the Pirates never seriously challenged the Eagles the rest of way cutting the lead to single digits just twice in the second half.
“There’s always a quarter that kills us,” Corinth Holders coach Brandy Smith said. “Enloe is an aggressive team and they played pressure defense on our guards and we coughed it up too much.
“Then trying to come back from that quarter…it hurt.”
The Pirates (4-6), who already had improved upon its three-win total from a season ago, tried to claw back and twice cut the lead to nine points in the third quarter on a pair of jumpers from Lindsay Jennings and Cyarra Pierson.
Enloe (7-5), however, proved to be too strong and relied on a pair of outstanding performances turned in by Alexus Lewis and Candice Jones to turn back the Pirates.
Lewis, who was later named to the all tournament team in addition to teammate Kiana Jackson, led the Eagles with 12 points while Jones added 11.
Pierson and junior Kris Neal duplicated their efforts from the night before in a dramatic 34-33 win over North Lenoir as the duo scored 12 points apiece in each contest.
Pierson’s last-second shot downed the Hawks and helped land her on the all tournament team as well.
Despite falling to the 4A Eagles, Smith is pleased where her team stands at the precipice of conference play in the Northern Carolina 2A Conference.
“There’s a lot of steps we’ve taken; a lot of progress we’ve made, “Smith said. “Right now the thing is just keeping their confidence level to the point where they continue to grow and get better.
“I’m excited to see what’s going to happen in the conference once we get into it.”
Rounding out the all tournament team was North Lenoir’s Ta’Breia Foster and Smithfield-Selma’s Breanna Chappell.