It’s been a rough season for the Southern Durham girls basketball team, but you wouldn’t know it based on its effort against the Chapel Hill Tigers. Southern came to Chapel Hill and ran away with things, winning 51-34 thanks to pressure defense and a strong second half.
The game was a sloppy affair to start, with neither team getting into a rhythm. Chapel Hill had 30 turnovers at halftime, but still led 19-18. Southern had 16 turnovers of their own, but poor free throw shooting and missed shots prevented them from this one being over after the first 16-minutes.
Southern finally got their game together in the second half. They continued to force turnovers and started to make their layups. Southern scored 25 points in the third quarter, forced another 12 turnovers, and held Chapel Hill to just eight points.
Chapel Hill had no answer for the press of Southern.
Tigers head coach Sherry Norris attributed her teams issues to a simple lack of experience.
“We don’t have any seniors on the court,” Norris said. “We have a freshman and a sophomore trying to handle that pressure, and they make a lot of mistakes. I told them we were gonna set the school’s record for turnovers and no one would ever break it.”
Southern coach Teddy McKoy was frustrated with the first half and his teams lack of scoring despite the forced turnovers.
“I fussed at them in the locker room,” said McKoy. “We were forcing turnovers, but not scoring. And we weren’t making free throws.”
Southern went 2-for-16 from the free throw line in the first half, which kept Chapel Hill in the game. The Tigers only had four made field goals in the half, but picked up 11 points from the charity stripe.
“I told them we can’t play any worse than we just played,” said McKoy. “Keep doing what we’re doing and it will come.”
Southern was led by Junior guard J-naya Ephraim, who picked up a double-double with 13 points, 12 rebounds, adding four assists. Seven of her 12 rebounds came on the offensive glass. Junior wing Jonisha Mcdaniel led all scorers with 17 points, including nine points from beyond the arc. Junior wing Anne Crabill finished with 10 points for the Tigers.
Despite the loss, Norris was pleased with her teams effort. “They gave great effort. They didn’t give up. It’s an easy thing to quit, but I didn’t see any of them quit,” said Norris.
Southern will host Kinston on Saturday while Chapel Hill won’t be back in action until Jan. 20 when they travel to Northwood.