Andrews, Wingate lead Orange women past Granville Central 52-32

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Updated: December 4, 2019

The new chapter of Orange women’s basketball has officially opened.

Icez Barnett, Lauren Cates, Grace Dively and Kate Burgess were the last pieces of the most successful team in school history. That was the 2016-17 squad that won 21 consecutive games to open the season, finished 26-2 and won the Big 8 Regular Season and Tournament Championships.

All four of those players graduated in June.

On Tuesday night, Coach B.J. Condron started three sophomores, one freshman and a senior in long-awaited season opener against Granville Central. Without the smooth poise of Barnett controlling the offense or Cates waiting in the corner for one of her trademark 3-pointers, the Lady Panthers were predictably rough around the edges, but they still had enough for a comfortable win.

Grace Andrews and Jarmil Wingate each scored ten points to lead Orange to a 56-36 victory, the fourth year in a row that the Lady Panthers won its season opener. Sophomore Aaliyah Harris added nine, while freshman center Erin Jordan-Cornell scored eight points.

While the ball handling wasn’t as secure as past Orange teams, there was a new shade of aggressiveness and tenacity from the Lady Panthers. More than a few players probably awoke to bruises on their bodies Wednesday morning from diving on the floor for the many loose balls caused by deflections.

Part of that may have come from Orange practicing for an inordinate amount of time. The Lady Panthers were originally slated to start on November 22 against Northern Guilford, but the game was cancelled because the Nighthawks’ football team hosted a state playoff game.

With an extra eleven days before its first game, Condron arranged extra practices with various men’s players.

“We’ve been emphasizing putting in more effort,” Condron said. “We wanted to play hard defensively to get our offense going. They took it to heart. It’s something I was unsure about because we’ve seen it in practice at times, but not all the time.”

Orange led 16-12 at the half, but Central nearly tied the contest in the opening minutes of the third quarter after Coryiah White sank an 18-footer. Central missed a layup that would have evened the game. Orange went on a 10-0 run behind nine points from Andrews in the third quarter. Wingate added a field goal, while Jordan-Cornell got to the foul line ten times in her first Orange game.

“Jarmil always puts herself in a good position because of her effort,” Condron said. “She can hit a midrange jump shot. I think towards the end we had some really good passes against the press that found her open a few times.”

Going into the fourth quarter ahed 34-23, Orange put the game on ice with seven different players scoring. Sophomore point guard Aaliyah Harris scored nine, while classmate Mary Moss Wirt added six.

“I wasn’t sure how we were going to react in the first game,” Condron said. “I think Aaliyah did a good job setting the tone for it all. We were a little bit unsure, but she battled for loose balls and led the charge. Everybody kind of followed in with her.”

Orange will travel to Southern Alamance on Friday night.

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