Photo by Kylee Harvey
Orange relied on one of its veterans to win its final regular season home game of the season Friday night.
On Saturday, they relied on a freshman to win its final road game.
Xandrell Pennix, in only his eleventh varsity game, sparked the Panthers with a career-high 15 points, including a trio of 3-pointers in the final 6:00 minutes of regulation against Cedar Ridge on Saturday afternoon. Orange, which trailed 50-39 with 6:03 remaining, ended the game on an 18-3 run to sweep the season series from the Red Wolves 57-53.
Orange (7-16, 3-9 in the Central Carolina Conference) ended the regular season on a three-game winning streak and tied Eastern Alamance for fifth place in the CCC. It was Orange’s first true road win since December 2nd, when they defeated North Carolina School of Science and Math in Durham. On Sunday morning, Orange won a coin toss against Eastern Alamance to earn the #5 seed for the CCC Tournament, which starts tonight. The Panthers will travel to Western Alamance at 7PM, only nine days after the Warriors defeated Orange 56-50 in Elon.
It was another frustrating loss for Cedar Ridge (4-15, 1-11), which had a 13-point lead against Eastern Alamance on February 1 in Mebane, only to have the Eagles go on a 15-4 run to even the game. Eventually, Eastern prevailed 66-64.
The Red Wolves will travel to Roxboro tonight to face Person in the opening game of the Central Carolina Conference Tournament. The Rockets defeated the Red Wolves 75-50 on February 2.
Juniors Colton Taylor and Kamil Harrison led the Red Wolves with 14 points each.
Cedar Ridge never trailed through the opening three quarters. Leading 42-33 going into the final frame, the Red Wolves took a 50-39 lead with 6:06 remaining after Harrison found Rawlins Taylor on a transition lay-up.
Up to that point, Orange was only 3-of-16 from 3-point range. Then Pennix made three consecutive shots from downtown. His final trey, assisted by senior Jerec Thompson, reduced Orange’s deficit to 50-48 with 3:44 remaining, the closest the Panthers had come to tying since it was 4-2.
Two free throws by junior forward Darius Corbett evened the game at 50-50 with 2:22 remaining. It was the first tie of the day. In the midst of the Orange run, the Red Wolves missed nine consecutive shots from the field. Corbett later returned to the foul line and gave the Panthers its first lead at 52-50 with 1:52 left.
Jerec Thompson grabbed a rebound after another Cedar Ridge miss, and Pennix was fouled by Cedar Ridge forward Neco Clark, who fouled out. Pennix converted the two free throws to increase Orange’s lead to 54-50.
Harrison scored off a lay-in and was fouled by Orange’s Isaiah Seymour. Colton Taylor rebounded the subsequent missed free throw. After a timeout, Taylor was fouled on a jump shot and split two free throws to cut Orange’s lead to 54-53. Seymour, who finished with nine rebounds, got the board, which led to Thompson draining two free throws to push the Panther lead to 56-53.
With a chance to tie on its final possession, the Red Wolves committed a turnover when a player dribbled the ball off his foot out of bounds. Pennix scored the game’s final point.
Throughout the game, the Red Wolves accomplished its mission of not getting beat by Thompson, who scored 40 points the night before in Orange’s win over Eastern Alamance. The Red Wolves held Thompson scoreless in the first half. In the opening quarter, Orange shot just 2-of-6 from the field and committed eight turnovers. Five different Red Wolves scored field goals in the opening eight minutes as Cedar Ridge led 13-6 going into the second quarter.
The Red Wolves shot six-of-nine from the field in the second quarter. Cedar Ridge junior Jonovan Wingate came off the bench to score the Red Wolves’ opening five points of the second half to increase its lead to 18-8. Colton Taylor drained a 3-pointer with 51 seconds remaining to put Cedar Ridge ahead 27-16 at halftime.
Orange swept the season series from the Red Wolves for the first time since the 2018-2019 season.
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: ORANGE 51, CEDAR RIDGE 16
Orange senior Samantha George scored nine points in the opening quarter, all off 3-pointers, as the Lady Panthers bolted out to a 16-1 lead and eventually defeated the Red Wolves 51-16.
George, who scored 16 points in an overtime loss to Eastern Alamance the night before, led the Lady Panthers with 18. Her younger sister, freshman Evelyn George, added ten points.
Cedar Ridge junior Grace Young had a career-high nine points.
Orange will open the Central Carolina Conference Tournament as the #4 seed. The Lady Panthers will host Western Alamance tonight at 6.
Cedar Ridge will travel to Walter Williams tonight at 6PM.
MEN’S BASKETBALL: ORANGE 57, CEDAR RIDGE 53
ORANGE: Jerec Thompson 9, Isaiah Seymour 6, Thomas Loch 4, Darius Corbett 11, Xandrell Pennix 15, Amare Morgan 12.
CEDAR RIDGE: Colton Taylor 12, Garrett Ray 4, Neco Clark 5, Rawlins Taylor 10, Kamil Harrison 17, Jonovan Wingate 5.
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: ORANGE 51, CEDAR RIDGE 16
ORANGE: Samantha George 18, Aaliyah Harris 2, Katelyn Van Mater, 4, Jarmil Wingate 2, Jada Reed 3, Evelyn George 13, Aisha Caron 2, Haley Reynolds 1, Nakayla Whitted 4, Katie Perkins 2.
CEDAR RIDGE: Grace Young 9, Cameron Copeland 1, Julie Altieri 4, Reagan Simmons 2.