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While the Wilson Christian varsity girls basketball team raised its overall record to 11-8 with a thorough 56-19 victory over Faith Christian of Goldsboro on Friday night, the Lady Chargers are undefeated in the area where their season will be defined in February.
After turning 31 turnovers into a parade of easy layups and a third-quarter running clock, the Lady Chargers moved to 7-0 against opponents from the North Carolina Christian School Association in 2017-18.
“I preach that to them all the time,” Wilson Christian head coach Brian Trull said. “But I wanted them to see some success. I’m glad we have in the last two games. We just want to keep it up. We’ve got another conference game on Monday and Greenfield on Thursday, so we’ve got a chance to keep things rolling.”
Indeed, roll it did against the Lady Conquerors (6-5).
A five-point victory for Wilson Christian in the first meeting between the teams on Dec. 15 required the Lady Chargers to erase an early 15-2 deficit in Goldsboro. That was far from the case surrounded by the comforts of home. Wilson Christian’s fleet of guards, including sophomore Ashley Hartsfield, sophomore Madison Carnes, freshman Kendall Harris, senior Jenna Hunter and junior Caitlyn Barnes excelled in generating turnovers and turning them into easy baskets. Wilson Christian netted eight points off turnovers in the opening quarter, and the aggressive drives of Hartsfield and junior Christy Jones helped push Wilson Christian out to a commanding 15-3 lead after one period.
WCA’s defense and just abysmal shooting from the Lady Conquerors allowed the game to get well out of hand in the second quarter. Carnes, who netted six of her season-high 16 points in the second quarter, found herself on the receiving end of passes following Lady Conqueror giveaways in just her second start of the year.
Sophomore Kayla Tant had a pair of 3-pointers off the bench as the Lady Chargers ran over Faith with a 22-0 spree in the second quarter. Increased trapping along the sideline and in the corners from the first meeting flustered the visitors.
Thus, Wilson Christian was left with a commanding 37-3 advantage at the half. One marked improvement for the Lady Chargers were finishing turnovers with layups instead of misses.
“We made some great passes and we finished on most of them,” Trull said. “We’ve struggled on that a little bit. We’ve turned it over some trying to get out and run, but tonight we converted on all of them.”
With the Lady Conquerors of head coach Jeff Stocks and assistant Kim Howard, the former girls coach at Fike High, focused on limiting the quality touches of junior forward McKenna Griffin inside, room was left for the WCA guards and wings to operate. Griffin still finished with eight points and five rebounds as the Lady Conquerors were eventually forced out of their zone by WCA’s dribble penetration.
“They did a good job of collapsing in the middle and making us do some other things,” Trull reviewed. “But the difference tonight was, we did those other things really well.
A Carnes layup with 2:45 left in the third quarter made it 47-7 and triggered the continuous clock. It was also Wilson Christian’s largest lead, and the game ended with Barnes on the line after she made the first of two free throws. Starting with Tuesday’s lopsided win over Kinston Bethel Christian, Carnes replaced Barnes in the starting lineup with the latter, in Trull’s estimation, more effective entering off the bench.
Jordan Lawhan led the Lady Conquerors with nine points. Hartsfield added nine for Wilson Christian.
The Lady Chargers will attempt to make it 8 for 8 against NCCSA opposition at home Monday night against Greenville Christian.
“I feel like we’re just growing,” Carnes said. “We’ll keep growing and growing, and we just don’t need to stop growing. We need to keep contributing.”
FAITH CHRISTIAN (19)
Lawhan 9, Baumgartner 5, Miller, Glover, Meador 2, Mills 3, Leroy.
WILSON CHRISTIAN (56)
Hartsfield 9, Barnes 5, Carnes 16, Tant 6, Harris, Hunter 4, Vick 4, Reams, Reece 2, Jones 2, Griffin 8.
Score by quarters: