East Chapel Hill completed a sweep of Carrboro Friday night, as both the boys and girls teams won home games. The East Chapel Hill girls needed a late fourth quarter push to win a close one, 38-30, over Carrboro (6-4). T.J. Johnson finished with a team-high 16 points.
The Wildcat boys dominated from the opening tip, winning 66-34 over the Jags (0-10). Carter Collins led the team with 16 points, with Kevin Gilland also chipping in 10.
This season, the Wildcats are missing maybe the best women’s basketball they’ve ever had, Ali Cyr-Scully, who graduated in 2016 and went on to walk-on at UNC.
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“We haven’t been able to replace her,” coach Michelle Wood said. “She’s hard to replace – 21 points a game, plus all of her leadership and her ball handling. But we’ve had different kids stepping up.”
Wood mentioned Alex Mauney, Victoria Baldwin, Kayla Merriweather and Grace Vincent as players who’ve all played a little part in helping fill Cyr-Scully’s shoes. And it showed through the first three quarters with the Wildcats’ balanced scoring.
“I thought we had good contributions from lots of different players today,” Wood said. “Five or six different players scored, which we’ve been trying to encourage.”
Guard Grace Nanney led the Jaguars with 19 points. Myasia Jarrett had the next highest total on her team with six.
“She’s a senior, she’s a leader,” Carrboro assistant coach Chris Glasco said of Nanney. “We love what she brings on both ends of the floor. Tonight, we just didn’t have enough to finish.”
At the end of the third quarter, East Chapel Hill was up only one, 25-24. Excellent defense and some timely jump shooting pushed the lead to 34-30 with two minutes left in the fourth.
After relying on balance in the early parts of the game, the Wildcats leaned on T.J. Johnson to close it out. She grabbed seemingly every rebound and forced every turnover her team needed to hold onto their narrow lead.
East Chapel Hill coach Ray Hartsfield has built a really good basketball team. The Wildcats get out and run, share the ball and play tough defense, aided by an army of long-armed wings. Against rival Carrboro on Friday night, they were in cruise control throughout, jumping out to a 15-4 lead at the end of the first quarter and never looking back.
His team is led by Davidson recruit Carter Collins.
“Carter Collins is special. He can do a lot of things,” Hartsfield said. “We talked about tonight, let me see you facilitate tonight. And I thought he did a great job of facilitating the game, and finding shots for his teammates, and when he needs to step up, he can step up and score the basketball.”
In the fourth quarter, the Wildcats’ second unit played the whole time. The home crowd went wild after every made basket from backup point guard Danny Kaminsky. Center Nick DeCapite also gained valuable experience playing with the starters while Clay Watkins sat with a slight concussion.
The win capped off an impressive stretch of play for the Wildcats.
“We’ve got the season broken down into four quarters,” Coach Hartsfield said. “So we went 4-2 in the first quarter, and we just finished a 6-0 second quarter. So we are pleased with our progress.”
Progress, especially for the second unit and DeCapite, was the theme of the night.
Head coach Justin Matz is in his first year at Carrboro, and is still installing his system with this new roster. The Jaguars produced a balanced scoring attack Friday night – eight different players scored – but no one stepped up to take over offensively.