BENSON — On a night when West Johnston’s girls basketball never found its shooting touch against Garner, the Wildcats found a way to grind out a victory Tuesday night.
West Johnston turned to its defense in the final five minutes to pull away from a 26-26 tie and defeat the winless Trojans 35-29.
“It was a grind,” West Johnston coach Bill Pepicello said. “Nobody had any touch tonight. It was all over the rim. I’m happy that they stayed in there and fought through it even though the shots weren’t going down.
“It was like, ‘Let’s make it helter-skelter and maybe we can get on the floor and get some loose balls. And we were able to do that tonight.’ ”
Freshman guard Christian Sanders led West Johnston (4-8, 1-4 Greater Neuse River 4A Conference) with 10 points, including a 3-pointer with 5:15 left that tied the score at 26. But it was Eboni Robinson and Avvette Smith who made the plays down the stretch for the Wildcats.
Robinson (4 points) made three free throws in the final five minutes and Smith (5 points) delivered a key basket with 1:26 remaining to give West Johnston a 33-29 lead.
Khayani Chandler led Garner with a game-high 16 points, but turnovers and missed shots doomed the Trojans (0-10, 0-4).
“It wasn’t a pretty game, that’s for sure,” Pepicello said. “But we got it done.”