BURLINGTON–The Orange women’s basketball team found itself in a strange place on Tuesday night.
In game action.
Orange last played on December 28 during the Eastern Guilford Holiday Showcase in Gibsonville, where they defeated Northeast Guilford 52-27 for Coach B.J. Condron’s 100th career win. The Lady Panthers were supposed to play again on January 4 against Cedar Ridge, but there’s no such thing as a iron clad schedule with COVID-19 in the air.
Because of COVID and winter weather, the Orange women waited a full 29 days until its next game. On Tuesday night, Orange finally returned to the floor looking like a different team that had lost to Walter Williams 74-50 on December 17 in Hillsborough.
Orange just didn’t find the baskets when they needed them in the end.
In a tight game where neither team led by more than six points, Williams (10-3, 3-1 in the Central Carolina Conference) held off Orange 44-41 at Bulldog Gymnasium.
After senior guard Aaliyah Harris tied the game with two free throws with 4:00 remaining, Williams’ Kameryn Russell scored on a lay-in as she rumbled down the lane to put the Bulldogs ahead. After a miss by Orange, Williams’ Taniya Hunter-Smith had a lay-in rim out. The Lady Panthers had three chances to tie on the subsequent possession, but Orange was called for traveling.
Williams, leading 39-37 with 1:30 remaining, nearly had a five-second violation when guard Jainasia Bailey picked up her dribble with Harris defending her, but Bulldogs’ coach Jason Cheek called timeout. Bulldogs center Taniya Hunter-Smith drained two free throws.
Orange was called for stepping out of bounds on the next possession. After Williams’ Bri Scott missed a free throw, Harris knocked down a one-hand runner with 37 seconds remaining to cut the Orange deficit to 41-39. Orange fouled Russell, who missed the front end of a one-and-one. After Orange’s Erin Jordan-Cornell got the rebound, the Panthers went for a 3-pointer, which was no good. Bailey sank two free throws with :19 remaining to put the game out of reach.
George led Orange with 13 points. Erin Jordan-Cornell finished with a season-high 12 points.
Hunter-Smith paced the Bulldogs with 15 points.
The game starts a grueling stretch for the Panthers where they will play four games in a stretch of five days. The Lady Panthers host Person at 6 on Thursday night in Hillsborough. Orange will travel to face crosstown rival Cedar Ridge on Friday night. On Saturday, Orange travels to face Western Alamance at noon in Elon.
Men’s basketball: Williams 69, Orange 53
A month of dominating Orange in Hillsborough, the Williams Bulldogs rushed out to a 6-0 lead and never trailed in a 69-50 win over the Panthers.
The Bulldogs placed three players in double figures. Kenan King led Williams with 18 points, while Grayson McCadden had 17.
After Williams pushed its lead to 26 points early in the third quarter, Orange coach Derryl Britt benched his seniors for the final 13 minutes of regulation and played a lineup that included three freshmen. Xandrell Pinnix, in just his third varsity game, led Orange with 13 points.
Jerec Thompson, who missed the opening game of the season against Williams, was held to four points, his lowest output of the season. It was the first time this year that Thompson didn’t hit a 3-pointer in a game. Williams’ forward Alijah Richmond, who scored eight touchdowns in two games against Orange this year, defending Thompson for most of the game.
Orange trailed 21-10 at the end of the first quarter and the Bulldogs were never seriously threatened again.
The Panthers (4-12, 0-5 in the Central Carolina Conference) will return to action against Cedar Ridge on Friday night. The Red Wolves have beaten the Panthers four straight times.
Williams has won three in a row.
WILLIAMS 44, ORANGE 41
ORANGE: Aaliyah Harris 6, Samantha George 13, Erin Jordan-Cornell 12, Jada Reed 3, Jarmil Wingate 4, Evelyn George 3.
WILLIAMS: Jamera Shaw 4, Taniya Hunter-Smith 15, Kamryn Russell 9, Bri Scott 6, Jainasia Bailey 10
WILLIAMS 69, ORANGE 50
ORANGE: Jerec Thompson 4, Amare Morgan 6, Joshua Jackson 6, Ryan Moss 2, Kaleb Barhhardt 4, Darius Corbett 2, Thomas Loch 3, Xandrell Pinnix 13, Michael Clark 4, Freddy Sneed 6.
WILLIAMS: Kenan King 18, Avery Miles 2, Cam’ron Jones 15, Alijah Richmond 2, Grayson McCadden 17, Milton Turner 6, Willie Turner 6, Corey Reaves 2, Isaiah Ramsey 1.