East Chapel Hill suffered more than a 68-51 loss to Northwood in girls basketball Friday night. It also lost T.J. Johnson for 10 weeks after the sophomore guard fractured a bone in her right hand.
Johnson went into Friday’s non-conference game as the Wildcats’ top rebounder (6 rpg) and second-leading scorer (14.3 ppg).
“It’s terrible to say it, but I was thinking in the back of my mind that if T.J. had been in the game, we wouldn’t be walking out of here with a win,” Northwood head coach Cameron Vernon said.
Johnson was injured late in the first quarter as she swung around with a rebound and was struck on the back of her right palm by another player’s elbow. An X-ray later confirmed the fracture.
East Chapel Hill junior guard Ali Cyr-Scully, with 12 points in the first quarter, hit five 3-pointers and scored a career-high 34 by game’s end. Sarah Towne added 11 points for East (2-2) but it wasn’t enough to overcome Northwood’s balanced scoring.
“Ali stepped up. Sarah stepped up. But losing T.J. hit everyone hard emotionally,” East Chapel Hill coach Michelle Wood said.
Sophomore Kristian Eanes scored 18 points and junior Bryn Aydt 17 to lead four players in double digits for Northwood (2-1). Shontai Totten and Jazanae Billings each added 11 points.
With Johnson out of the lineup, East Chapel Hill struggled to keep Northwood off the glass. The Chargers pulled down 11 offensive rebounds in the first half and scored 14 second-chance points on the way to a 38-25 halftime lead.
“We got rebounds, but it wasn’t because we blocked out,” Vernon said. “It was because we were lucky enough that the ball was coming our way.”
East led for the last time at 20-19, following Cyr-Scully’s third 3-pointer of the first half. Northwood then used a 12-0 run to break open what had been a see-saw game.
“It’s good to win, but we’ve got to improve if we’re going to compete in the Big Eight Conference,” Vernon said. “I believe we play in the toughest 3A conference in the state.”
Tigers postpone: Chapel Hill and Carrboro agreed to postpone their basketball game Friday, allowing Tiger fans more freedom to attend the Tigers’ NCHSAA football semifinal game at Northern Guilford. The basketball game was rescheduled for Jan. 13 at CHHS.