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Johnson lifts Edenton girls' basketball past Camden

John A. Holmes 45, Camden 44

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Edenton-John A. Holmes' Jamillian Johnson (center) shoots and makes the go-ahead basket with less than 30 seconds remaining in the girls' basketball game against Camden, Tuesday, January 15, 2019 at Camden County High School.

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By David Gough
Sports Writer

Thursday, January 17, 2019

CAMDEN — The Camden girls basketball team hoped to end a five-game losing streak Tuesday night and they fought hard doing so.

The Lady Bruins played front runner for much of the game, but Albemarle Athletic Conference foe John A. Holmes clawed its way back for a tight 45-44 victory.

Edenton sophomore Jamillian Johnson’s floater with 20 seconds to go was the deciding bucket in what was the Lady Aces’ first conference game of the season.

Johnson, Edenton’s leading scorer coming into the game averaging 15.9 points per game, had been held in check by Camden (3-10, 0-2 AAC) for the first three quarters.

But after the guard scored just six points in the first 24 minutes, Johnson erupted in the fourth quarter with 16 points for a total of 22 for the game.

“(Johnson) was able to get better looks on her dribble-drives, whether it be on a fastbreak situation or half court,” Edenton coach Brian Chappell said. “She didn’t get those opportunities in the beginning of the game because (Camden) did a good job covering up the middle.”

Johnson was responsible for every point scored by the Lady Aces (8-4, 1-0 AAC) in the fourth quarter and each one of them was needed for the comeback to be complete.

The Lady Bruins led by eight, 37-29, to begin the period. What had been a good shooting night for them came to a halt as Edenton adjusted its defense.

The change caught Camden off guard with a “stretched-out zone,” according to Camden coach Matt Sundberg.

It took a little over five minutes for Camden to finally score points in the fourth, coming from a 3-pointer from junior guard Shae Ferebee to put an end to a 7-0 Lacy Aces run.

Ferebee added two free throws moments later to put the Lady Bruins back up by five, but Johnson and company scored six straight to take the lead for the first time since Edenton led 10-7 early in the second quarter.

Camden freshman Kennedy Lighty answered right back with a layup while getting fouled to retake the one-point lead with 30 seconds to go. The free throw was then missed as the Lady Aces hauled in the rebound and set the stage for Johnson’s game-winning bucket.

“We’re growing each game,” Chappell said. “This was just us persevering, finishing out and correcting some of the errors we made early.”

Still, the Lady Bruins had one last shot to win the game. Ferebee, who had been Camden’s hot shooter all night, missed on her own floater as Edenton regained possession of the ball and held on for the win.

“That (play) right there kind of encompasses the game,” Sundberg said. “The girls played hard. They executed on the last play, but sometimes the ball just doesn’t go through the hoop.”

The biggest reason Camden had a real shot at ending its five-game skid was how Ferebee shot the ball all night, especially in the second quarter.

She finished with a game-high and season-high 24 points. Half of that came in the second frame, making four 3-pointers as part of a 15-2 run.

That run, which started from a Hailey Bunting triple just 20 seconds into the period, erased a slow start that saw the Lady Bruins trail 10-4 to Edenton after the first quarter.

Camden went from down six to up eight in just over four minutes.

“The girls played great team basketball offensively and (Ferebee) was just on the receiving end of kick outs when Edenton was scrambling a little bit,” Sundberg said. “We were able to knock down some shots there on that run.”

The Lady Aces’ Anna Bass, who finished with 13 points, helped bring Edenton back within two by halftime with three baskets of her own in the last few minutes of the half.

While the Lady Bruins’ lead did grow to a game-high nine points in the third quarter, the Lady Aces buckled down on defense in the fourth quarter to fight their way back and start out conference season with the win.

“We’re trying to get better one day at a time,” Chappell said. “That’s been our motto from the beginning and all the mistakes today, we’ll try to work on those and try to get better and get ready for Washington County on Friday.”

BOYS BASKETBALL

John A. Holmes 64, Camden 18: The Aces remain undefeated (12-0) after dominating their conference opener against Camden, Tuesday.

Edenton coach Robert Woodley acknowledged that, even though his team has yet to lose, that this one was the most complete game the Aces have played so far this season and it came at a great time.

“Now’s the time that we want to be playing our best basketball,” Woodley said. “We got a big challenge on Friday with Washington County and they’re undefeated. They’re really an arch rival. It’ll be fun.”

Tuesday’s game was never in doubt as a running clock was used for much of the second half.

The Aces jumped on Camden (6-7, 0-2 AAC) quickly as they led 16-6 after the first quarter and eventually held a 36-11 halftime lead.

Sophomore Jayden Walton scored a basket with about a minute to go in the first quarter for the Bruins’ sixth point. It would be another 16 minutes of game time before senior Trent Nixon made a layup to end the field goal drought.

Only five made free throws accounted for Camden points during that span. Meanwhile, Edenton scored 40 points in that time and had a 22-0 run going before Nixon’s shot made it 56-13.

“We’re lacking a lot of want-to right now,” Bruins coach Mark Harnly said. “I don’t think mistakes bother us enough. And we’re just not playing strong.”

Camden has now lost five in a row after starting out 6-2 on the season.

Defensively, Edenton held Bruins’ leading scorer Tim Aydlett, who came in averaging 17.7 points per game, to just three points; all on free throws in the fourth quarter.

Offensively, the Aces shared the ball as well as a team could hope for. Eleven players scored in the game as junior Mitjonta Stanley led the team with 12 points for the night.

“That’s what we talk about all the time,” Woodley said. “If we share the ball and work within the team concept, I don’t care if everyone’s averaging eight or 10 points a game. If you got everybody scoring eight or 10, you’ll win a bunch of basketball games.

“And the kids are buying in.”

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