Harris scores 22 as Orange women defeat Western Alamance 73-47; Warriors men defeat Panthers 56-50

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Updated: February 7, 2022

Entering the final week of the regular season, the Orange women’s basketball team is in line to return to the state playoffs for the first time since 2020.

Barring a collapse, the Lady Panthers will host a first-round game in next week’s Central Carolina Conference Tournament, have a winning season and possibly be at home for the opening round of the 3A State Playoffs.

Which is pretty good for a team that hasn’t been at full-strength in two-thirds of its games.

On Saturday, the Lady Panthers played its fourth game in five days. Nonetheless, the Lady Panthers rolled past Western Alamance 73-47 on Coach Erma Evans Court in Elon.

Senior Aaliyah Harris led Orange with 22 points.

Western Alamance’s Emma Johnson paced the Warriors with 18 points. After Warriors guard Allie Sykes picked up two fouls in the opening 22 seconds of the game, Johnson was forced to carry the offensive load early.

After Johnson scored on a lay-in midway through the first quarter to push the Warriors ahead 8-6, Orange senior guard Samantha George got an offensive rebound off a missed free throw and sank a 3-pointer. On the next Western possession, George picked off a pass and dribbled coast-to-coast to put Orange ahead 12-8.

The Lady Panthers used its defense to create steals that led to transition opportunities and pull away from the Warriors. Orange senior Jarmil Wingate triggered three straight Panther field goals late in the first quarter, starting with a steal that led to Harris’ first field goal on a lay-up. Wingate knocked down two long jumpers on consecutive Orange possessions to increase their lead to 18-10. Harris lobbed a pass to Wingate for a lay-in with three seconds remaining in the quarter.

Wingate, who led Orange in scoring against Person with 13 points, established a new career-high of 14 points. Junior Jada Reed also established a new career-high of 16 points, including a 3-pointer in the second half. Harris missed tying her career-high, which was also set against Person last Tuesday, by one point.

Orange (12-6, 4-5 in the Central Carolina Conference) all but sewed up fourth place in the Central Carolina Conference with the victory. The Lady Panthers now lead the Warriors by one game, but also own the head-to-head tiebreaker after sweeping the season series. The Lady Panthers have a chance to tie Eastern Alamance for third place. On Wednesday night, Orange hosts Cedar Ridge, then faces Eastern Alamance in Hillsborough before journeying to Cedar Ridge on Saturday morning to wrap up the regular season.

Eastern Alamance travels to Northwood, undefeated in the CCC, on Tuesday night.

MEN’S BASKETBALL: WESTERN ALAMANCE 56-50

After a strong performance against Northwood the night before, the Orange men’s basketball team couldn’t put together another steady game in Elon.

Western Alamance never trailed in defeating the Panthers 56-50 on Saturday night. The Warriors (10-8, 6-3), who were coming off a loss to Cedar Ridge the night before, were led by Eric Hardy, who scored 15 points. Erik Wagoner added 14 as the Warriors swept the season series from Orange.

The Panthers’ Jerec Thompson scored 16 point, but was held without a 3-pointer in the first half. The only tie of the game came after Orange freshman Michael Clark sank an early trey to even the score 3-3. The Warriors led by double-figures most of the night

Thompson was the only player in double figures for Orange (4-16, 0-9).

The night before, Orange went toe-to-toe against Northwood, who is 10-0 in the Central Carolina Conference. The Chargers pulled away to win 78-62, but the Panthers had an early lead after Clark, in his first start, scored 12 points in the first quarter. Clark led Orange with 17 points against the Chargers, while Thompson added 16.

Orange will host Cedar Ridge on Wednesday night, welcome Eastern Alamance in its final home game of the season on Friday, then travel to Cedar Ridge on Saturday.

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