The Chapel Hill basketball teams hosted New Manchester on Saturday. The Panthers won both games. In the first, the Lady Panthers topped the Lady Jaguars for their first victory in the region, 55-43. In the boy’s game, Chapel Hill fought back after a slow start to win a tight, low scoring affair, 43-39.
In the girl’s game, the Jaguars started like they would be the stronger team. They scored early in the paint to take a 6-2 lead, but the Panthers fought back to even the score midway through the first quarter. In the second quarter, Chapel Hill made another run, this time taking a 10 point lead when Alexia Wallace made a basket with five minutes left in the half. The Jaguars fell behind by missing a number of easy shots under the basket. Shekinah Howard scored two more baskets for the Lady Panthers, giving them a 29-22 lead at the half.
Chapel Hill opened the third quarter with the possession arrow but Deesha Brefford converted a lay-up off a steal for the Lady Jags. Over the next several minutes both squads missed easy field goal opportunities. Then Chapel Hill center, Alex Weems, began to control the boards. Weems broke the cycle of missed shots with a basket inside the paint. Chapel Hill kept feeding Weems and ending the third quarter up, 40-32.
The Lady Jaguars pulled within three points at the four minute mark. Lauren Owens immediately drained a three pointer for the Lady Panthers to kill the Jaguar momentum. Over the final minutes, Howard and Weems controlled the boards, each had put backs to give Chapel Hill their first victory of the year.
“Getting the first win of the season is always a good feeling,” said CHHS coach Scott Long. “The team showed real chemistry for the first time this year and responded well to what was going on in the game.”
The boy’s game started almost exactly like the girls. The Jags took control in the opening minutes and charged to a 15-4 lead with strong inside scoring from center Aaron Reddick. The Jaguars also dominated the opening quarter under the Chapel Hill basket with Reddick denying several Panther shots. In the second quarter Panther forward Reece Anderson provided a needed spark by scoring several baskets. With a minute to play in the half, Anderson scored and was fouled, converting on the three point play to close the gap to 23-17. The Panthers Jarrett Jenkins hit a shot at the halftime buzzer that counted, taking the Panthers into the locker room trailing 24-19.
In the second half, Chapel Hill held the Jaguars scoreless and drew ahead 30-24. Both teams played scrappy defense and the officials let them play hard.
In the fourth quarter, Jaguar guard Greg Ringer stole the opening Chapel Hill pass and went the length of the floor for an easy basket, drawing the Jags to with three points. On the next possession the Panthers Jarret Jenkins hit a three point shot to give his team the edge back. A technical foul was called on the Jaguars coach and the Panthers went up 38-30 with four minutes to play. However, a minute later Tabashi Thomas hit a three point shot for the Jaguars. Clinton Bentley converted two free throws for New Manchester, making the score 39-35 Chapel Hill. Bentley hit a three pointer for the Jaguars with 35 seconds to play to cut the deficit back down to three. The Jaguars fouled the Panthers twice in the final seconds and the Panthers hit one each time to seal the win.
Lee Wilson said he was proud of his Chapel Hill players after the win.
“We preached team basketball all week in practice and his team responded against the Jaguars,” Wilson said.