Triton’s varsity girls basketball team survived a second-half rally at rival South Johnston Friday to take a 56-44 victory and a season sweep over the Trojans.
“When we played aggressive defense, it seemed like our offense kicked in,” said Triton coach Wendy Simmons. “When we played slack defense, our offense looked bad. I keep trying to tell the girls it goes hand in hand. If you pick it up on defense, the offense will come. We’re still trying to learn that concept.”
South Johnston coach Whitney Williams saw improvement in her team, despite the loss.
“Our ball movement since Harnett Central (on Dec. 4) has been much better,” Williams said. “We picked up the speed a little bit, but we’ve just got to finish. Today was just the fourth quarter. We didn’t finish in the fourth quarter. We were down by two or three going in and let them get a little lead and break away from there.”
Senior Anaya Lockamy had a double-double, with 16 points, 15 rebounds, six steals and two blocks, and sophomore Kaila Cooney had 14 points and four assists to lead the Hawks (3-5).
“I think Anaya played hard the whole time,” Simmons said. “(Cooney) hit some big shots tonight. She’s been kind of down about her offense, but I think she did a good job coming back.”
Junior Mary Kate Lucas had one of her best performances for Triton, with eight points and three assists.
“She’s been getting some good minutes,” Simmons said. “As long as we see that keep happening and see her develop more as a player, it’s only going to make us better.”
Simmons was pleased with the second-half play of freshman Tristan Ennis. She had six points in her first game back from an injury.
“She came in there and played hard for at least a quarter-and-a-half for us and did some big things,” Simmons said. “Things that we needed to see done.”
Zoie Starling had five points, five rebounds and four assists, Anastasia McDonald had five points and Hannah Jackson had two points.
The Trojans (0-7) were led by sophomore Janay McDonald and junior Nikki Lee, with 14 points apiece.
“They definitely are stepping up,” Williams said. “But we need everybody. We can’t be a one- or two-player team. We need everybody to step up on the floor.”
Jenna Brown and Emma Jernigan had six points apiece, Savannah Parker had two points and Kennedy Byrd and Shae Ward had one point apiece.
Triton held a 28-20 lead early in the third quarter when South went on an 11-2 run, taking its first lead of the game on a score by Lee.
But the Hawks answered with Lockamy scoring to spark an 8-0 run to reclaim the lead. Lee and Janay McDonald scored to cut it back to one, but Triton finished the game on a 20-9 run to secure the win.
“I think the girls just stepped up the defense,” Simmons said. “We had some good looks all night long, they just weren’t falling. I think in that stretch we had a couple of big baskets.”
South Johnston is at Johnston County foe North Johnston on Thursday.
Triton travels to Terry Sanford on Thursday, Friday and Saturday to take part in the Cumberland County Holiday Tournament.