Four basketball teams from Johnston County came into Thursday night badly in need of wins in the Two Rivers 3A.
And in a couple of hard-fought contests, the home team won one and the visitors took the other.
In girls’ action, Anna Webster poured in 25 points to lead South Johnston to a 53-46 win over Corinth Holders.
And then in the boys’ contest Steven Adams led a balanced effort with 13 points and helped seal the result on a pair of free throws with 10 seconds left as the visiting Pirates escaped with a 54-51 win over the comeback-minded Trojans.
The girls’ result, which ended its three-game winning streak, improved South to 9-6 overall and 2-2 in conference play. The Pirate girls fell to 8-9 overall and 2-2 in conference play.
Corinth Holders’ boys improved to 10-7 overall and 2-2 in Two Rivers action, while South fell to 6-9 and 1-3.
Webster leads South girls
Emma Blackmon had 12 points and 10 rebounds for South, while Carson Denning had six points to go along with her 10 rebounds.
“It was tough having three losses in a row,” South coach Ronda Johnson said. “We really needed a big win tonight. We lost a heartbreaker the other night to Triton that we should have won, and we really needed to get a win to get back to the level where we should be competing.”
Maddy Gladwell and Shaniya Taylor had 13 points each for the Pirates while Melanie Tola chipped in 10.
“Rebounding made the difference,” Corinth Holders coach Brandy Smith said. “They got a lot of second-chance opportunities when we didn’t box out. And having a bad night at the free throw line didn’t help either.”
Webster, who is headed for Charleston Southern in the fall, scored 10 points in the third quarter as the Trojans turned a 24-20 deficit into a 40-34 lead.
“We got a lot of points from Emma, and she and Carson really rebounded well,” Webster said. “It was a good team game. If we keep playing like we did tonight we can win a lot of games.”
Blackmon, who came back to the team after sitting out last season, said she’s happy to be a part of the team again.
“Everybody did a better job of contributing tonight,” Blackmon said. “We had a lot of people rebounding and getting assists. We need to be better balanced than we have been and we did that tonight.”
Gladwell said she’s confident the Pirates can bounce back from the tough loss.
“We lost a lot of energy in the second half,” said the senior guard, who is bound for Meredith. “South was better in their transition game, and we didn’t keep up. And I really respect the way Anna plays.”
Pirate boys hang on
Bryan Frazier chipped in 12 points for the visitors as the Pirates fended off the hosts despite being outscored 18-9 in the fourth quarter.
“We didn’t hit free throws for a lot of the second half,” Corinth Holders coach Chris Davis said. “In the third quarter we were doing a lot better moving without the ball than in the fourth. We didn’t make good decisions with some of our passes. But the good thing was that it was a win.”
South had three players in double figures, as Markayle McClain led the way with 11 followed by Javonte Smith and Kolby Wood with 10 each.
“We got completely away from what we were doing in the third quarter,” South coach David Dewey said. “And we made too many unforced errors. But these kids are working hard and we’re going to keep plugging.”
Adams hit five of six free throws over the final 1:45 to help seal the deal for Corinth Holders.
“Our defense kind of let up in the fourth quarter,” Adams said. “If we had stayed on their throats in the fourth quarter like we did in the third that wouldn’t have happened. But we can work it out in practice.”
Wood kept the Trojans in it with hot shooting down the stretch, but missed a hurried 3-point attempt at the buzzer.
“We can do a lot of good things when we play together and listen to coach,” Wood said. “If we had done that as well earlier in the game as we did in the fourth quarter, maybe things would have been different.”