Published: Dec 21, 2011 01:45 AM
Modified: Dec 21, 2011 10:35 AM
CARY - Brittany Jewett has been asked, at times, to play point guard for Panther Creek while senior Claire Wach sits out with a foot injury. But on Tuesday night, Catamounts coach Geoff Bowman approached his 5-foot-10 junior guard with an even more difficult task.
One that even she wondered if she was the right size to handle it.
Bowman wanted to run a triangle-and-two defense against Cary, hoping to minimize the impact of the Imps' two star scorers Azura Stevens and Whitney Coleman. Jewett was matched up with Stevens, despite being a good seven inches shorter than her.
"I was a little bit scared, she was a lot taller than me," Jewett said.
But the move was one that worked for Panther Creek in its 52-48 road win at Cary. The Lady Catamounts (9-2, 6-1 Tri-Nine) are now tied for second place in the Tri-Nine Conference with Holly Springs.
"Brittany is a very smart player," said PC senior Kayla Seymour. "I thought it was very interesting when coach Bowman put (Jewett) on (Stevens), but she did a great job."
Seymour was charged with guarding Coleman in the triangle-and-two, and limited the Cary junior to 11 points. Jewett held Stevens without a first-quarter point, and though Cary's sophomore ended the game with 20 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks.
"It wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be," said Jewett, who had 3 points. "It was tiring, and I think it showed on my shot."
Seymour's night-long defensive pressure didn't affect her shooting form, as she led all scorers with 23 points with five 3-pointers.
"She has a little moxie about her, and that's something that we haven't seen and we had been asking for," Bowman said.
Panther Creek led by as many as 12 in the early part of the fourth quarter. But that lead dissipated as Stevens ended the second quarter with all 12 of her first-half points in a row. Freshman Ashonti Kindred hit a 3 just before the halftime, and Cary (7-3, 5-2) had itself a 26-25 lead.
But the Imps' momentum ended with the buzzer, as PC opened the third quarter on an 11-0 run.
"Panther Creek is a pretty good basketball team. You can't keep getting down 10-11 points expecting to come back," Cary coach Donald Kent said. "Eventually you'll run out of gas. We go through spells where we just can't put the ball in the basket."
Cary pulled within a point of PC's lead early in the fourth, but the Catamounts extended it to eight with three minutes to go. Once again, the Imps had an answer, making it a two-point game after two Stevens' free throws with 45 seconds left.
Panther Creek turned the ball over shortly thereafter, but Whitney Coleman's steal was negated with one by PC's Waverly Peng. Because the second half was mostly a foul-free, Cary had to foul four times -- plus force two PC timeouts and a jump ball -- in the last 25 seconds just to put the Catamounts on the line.
Junior Jordan Webb made both of her free throws in the one-and-one, clinching the game with 3.7 seconds remaining.
Webb (13 points) and Allie Tuttle (11 points, 12 rebounds) were also in double-figures for Panther Creek.
While Cary saw its seven-game winning streak to an end, Panther Creek extended theirs to six as both teams enter play in separate brackets in the 2011 Holiday Invitational.
The Catamounts and Imps each knew that a win would be huge for the opening week of games in 2012, when both teams play the conference's only unbeaten team in league play -- Green Hope.
"Our goal this year is a conference championship," Bowman said. "We want a banner in our gym that says that."