Already two games behind everyone else at the start of high school basketball season, the last thing Orange wanted to do Tuesday at East Chapel Hill was start slow.
But it took the Panthers a while to get up to speed in their first boys basketball game of the season. They fell behind by 10 points and never caught up as East Chapel Hill took a 47-35 win in their non-conference contest.
East Chapel Hill opened the night with a 48-41 win over Orange in a girls basketball game.
Moving effortlessly between roles as a shooting guard and wing, Carter Collins led East Chapel Hill (3-0) with a game-high 20 points. Jonathan Runyambo, playing his first year of organized basketball, mirrored Carter at wing and produced 11 points.
Logan Vosburg led Orange (0-1) with 10 points, while Conner Crabtree added 9 points.
Five Orange football players, including quarterback Jackson Schmid, had joined the basketball team late, delayed by the Panthers’ extended run in the state football playoffs. Wide receivers Keshawn Thompson and Damares Drummond started at guard Tuesday for Orange and scored 1 point apiece.
Despite an initial 4-0 lead, Orange turned over seven of its first 19 possessions and hit just four of its first 12 shots from the field. The Panther went without a field goal for a span of 7 minutes, 24 seconds midway through the first half, letting East Chapel Hill grab a 19-9 lead.
Collins scored 12 points in the first half off his 3-for-6 shooting from the field – including a 3-pointer – and 5-for-6 shooting at the line.
A 3-pointer by Brater Gerber and four consecutive points by Collins keyed an 11-1 run that East used to close the third quarter for a 36-20 lead. Orange never got closer than 43-32 in the fourth period.
“I thought Chris was a little off tonight, but he still scored 20,” East Chapel Hill coach Ray Hartsfield noted. “We need him to score 20, 21, 22 a night for us to be as effective offensively as we want to be.
“Jonathan gives us another kid on the wing who can take some of the pressure off Carter, because now you can’t concentrate just on Carter.”
East’s 1-2 punch leads girls to win
Ali Cyr-Scully and T.J. Johnson continued Tuesday to give East Chapel Hill’s girls team a solid 1-2 scoring punch, helping the Wildcats (2-1) make quick work of a 48-41 win over Orange (1-2).
Cyr-Scully hit three 3-pointers and scored a game-high 23 points, while Johnson added 17 points. They combined for 15 of East’s 17 points in a decisive second quarter. Up 11-7 after 8 minutes, East led 28-12 at halftime.
“Ali and T.J. are great scorers and they are going to get their points,” East coach Michelle Wood said. “What we’ll need when we get to some tough conference games are some more points from our 2-guards and our post players. We’re working on getting the ball to them.”
The final score was as close as Orange got in the second half. Orange junior guard Kaylen Campbell scored 9 of her team-high 11 points in the fourth quarter.
“The game got a little sloppy in the fourth quarter, but we were tired because we had played so hard for three quarters,” Wood said.