Even without placing a starter in double figures, the Orange girls basketball team found a way to start 6-0 for the first time in eight years.
Sophomore Lauren Cates came off the bench to score 16 points, including four three-pointers, while Icez Barnett added a dozen as the Panthers defeated Southern Alamance 52-39 on Tuesday night at Jim King Gymnasium.
Orange is 6-0 for the first time since the 2008-09 season, when they played in the 2A/1A Mid State Conference.
The Panthers never trailed against the Patriots (1-5), but it was a battle. Trailing by 14 early in the third quarter, Southern got consecutive field goals from Meghan Deese to narrow their deficit to 34-29 going into the fourth quarter. The Patriots made their charge with four reserves on the floor, including point guard Gracie Williams, who went the rest of the way running the offense.
Orange started the fourth quarter with consecutive three-pointers from Cates to push the advantage up to 40-29.
Orange’s 33 bench points were a season high.
“We have more scorers on this team than any other I’ve had,” said Orange coach B.J. Condron. “I think we played tentative at times tonight. I’d like to see us play a little better than we did at times tonight.”
Kaylen Campbell, Orange’s leading scorer, opened the game with a three-pointer that banked in off the right win. Campbell finished with nine, the first time all year she’s been held under double figures.
It was the second time in three weeks the Panthers defeated the Patriots. Orange won 47-3o in Graham on November 30.
Tuesday’s contest was the first in a span of three games in four days. On Wednesday night, the Panthers travel to East Chapel Hill. Tipoff is at 5:30. Orange defeated East Chapel Hill 58-51 on November 29. After a day off Thursday, Orange returns to Big 8 Conference action on Friday with a home game against Northern Vance. The Vikings fell to Cedar Ridge on Tuesday 56-32.
ORANGE 52, SOUTHERN ALAMANCE 39
SOUTHERN ALAMANCE: Allysa Jacobson 2, Eden Deanhardt 3, Jenna Haugle 17, Caroline Cousey 4, Gracie Williams 4, Cheyenne Cox 2, Meghan Deese 7.
ORANGE: Kaylen Campbell 9, Jazlyn Watson 8, Mia Davidson 2, Bethlyn Early 2, Janea Myers 3, Icez Barnett 12, Lauren Cates 16.