Orange’s Harris, George named to All-Conference, All-District women’s basketball teams

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Updated: April 21, 2022

After four years together on the Orange women’s basketball team, Aaliyah Harris and Samatha George got to play one final game as teammates.

It was poetic justice after the heartbreaking way Orange’s season ended in the opening round of the 3A State Playoffs on February 22. The Lady Panthers led 40-23 at Fayetteville 71st at halftime, only for the Falcons to mount an incredible comeback, outscoring Orange 45-13 in the second half to win 68-53.

Harris and George deserved better than a bad goodbye. They got it in, of all places, Ayden.

On March 26, Harris and George teamed up on the 919 Faison squad in the Clash of the Area Codes All-Star Game at Ayden-Grifton High School. Harris scored 14 points to help 919 Faison win over 252 Pittman 62-57.

Harris and George had different roles when they joined the varsity team as freshmen in 2018-2019. When Harris became Orange’s starting point guard at the start of her sophomore season, she looked to pass first. Her main backcourt option was Mary Moss Wirt, an ace shooter who canned a game-winning 3-pointer against Chapel Hill in 2019, which propelled Orange to a second-place finish in the Big 8 Conference. George was the fourth guard off the bench.

Things changed after a December night in 2019 when Wirt was injured in a game at Carrboro. From that point forward, Wirt concentrated on her main sport, softball, which she will play at Elon next winter.

After Wirt left basketball behind, George replaced her in the starting lineup. Harris became more aggressive shooting and looked to score first, while George became more reliable as a 3-point threat.

Together, they led the push as Orange returned to the 3A State Playoffs last winter. They also helped Head Coach B.J. Condron win his 100th career game on December 29 against Northeastern Guilford at the Eastern Guilford Holiday Hoops Showcase in Gibsonville.

Harris and George each earned postseason honors. They both were named to the All-Central Carolina Conference first-team. In addition, they were also named to the North Carolina Basketball Coaches Association All-District 3 team.

Harris was named to the All-District 3 First-Team, while George made Third-Team.

Harris was Orange’s leading scorer at 13.7 points per game in 2021-2022. Coming into the season, Harris’ career-high was 22 points set against Vance County in the 2019-2020. This year, she surpassed that mark three times. Harris scored 24 points in a win over Cedar Ridge on February 9 at Orange High. She also registered 23 points in a 73-47 win over Western Alamance on February 5 in Elon. In the opening game of the Eastern Guilford Holiday Showcase, Harris had 22 points in a 71-45 victory for the Lady Panthers over Reidsville.

In 24 games, Harris scored in double-figures 16 times in her senior season. She finished with at least ten points in every December game, starting with 17 points in a win over the North Carolina School of Science and Math in Durham on December 2. Against Person on January 27, she scored a career-high 23 points as Orange won 74-61 in Hillsborough.

In March, Harris signed with Randolph-Macon College in Virginia during a ceremony at Orange High Gymnasium.

George averaged a career-best eleven points per game in her senior season. After scoring twice in double figures in her first three seasons, George had 16 games with at least ten points as a senior. She also had three double-doubles, including one in her final game when she racked up eleven points and eleven rebounds against 71st in the state playoffs.

George put up 19 points against NCSSM, which was her career-high at that point. A week later, George reestablished her career-best with 23 points against Carrboro in a 68-36 win in Hillsborough. George had a string of nine consecutive games in double-figures starting on December 14, when she scored 12 points in a 54-46 win over Western Alamance in Hillsborough. She had 14 points against Person on January 27.

George’s scoring presence was needed more than ever after starting center Erin Jordan-Cornell missed three-quarters of the campaign with a knee injury, taking away the Lady Panthers’ most valuable low-post presence. Orange still finished 15-9 overall, 6-6 in the Central Carolina Conference, which included 3A State Champion Northwood.

George will attend Duke University starting in August.

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