Published: Jan 06, 2012 11:40 PM
Modified: Jan 11, 2012 03:31 AM
CARY - Green Hope's supporting cast which means everyone but Kristen Gaffney and Ashley Williams on the Falcons' girls basketball team was passing up shots on a night Panther Creek's defense clamped down on Gaffney and Williams.
The Catamounts led 15-14 at halftime, prompting Green Hope coach Mike Robinson to emphatically remind his players to shoot instead of looking for Gaffney or Williams.
Early in the third quarter, Lauren Midgette scored for a 16-15 edge.
Then Cassidey Sowards found the net after a Gaffney miss for a 23-17 lead.
Sidney Durand and Melissa Bridges also scored as the Falcons pulled away for a 45-32 win Friday night at the Catamounts' gym.
"They have to take those shots, and we've been preaching that a lot," Green Hope coach Mike Robinson said. "Lauren stepped up and hit a couple of big shots (in the third quarter) and that got us going.
The Falcons -- No. 2 in the N&O area rankings -- extended their Tri-Nine Conference winning streak to 51 games while improving to 13-2 overall and 8-0 in conference play. Panther Creek dropped to 10-5 and 6-2 to complete the first round of Tri-Nine play.
"This was a hard one to lose," Panther Creek coach Geoff Bowman said. "Our girls fought hard, and I'm proud of them. It was our best defensive effort to hold them to a season-low 45 points. I saw some good things, and we're excited for the next time around in conference."
Midgette, a junior forward, finished with 7 points. Durand, Sowards and Bridges only scored two points, but it was the timing of their baskets that mattered more than their totals.
"When they're doubling Kristen and putting pressure on Ashley, the other players have to step up," Midgette said. "I'm feeling more comfortable. I have confidence when I know my team is behind me."
Gaffney, who scored 11 of Green Hope's 14 points in the first half, finished with 22. Williams added 8 points.
Gaffney averages 26.6 a game a total the Falcons didn't top until Bridges hit a basket for a 27-23 lead with 1:32 left in the third quarter.
Then in the final 18 seconds of the third, Williams buried a 3-point field goal and made a steal for a breakaway layup for a 32-25 lead.
Williams' spurt came after she was knocked to the floor trying to take a charge. It was one of those calls that could have gone either way, but she was called for blocking in addition to suffering a cut on her forehead.
As a Panther Creek trainer tried to treat Williams, she waved him off, applied a bandage and played on.
Panther Creek started the fourth quarter trailing 32-25, but then Jordan Webb hit a 3-pointer and Kayla Seymour converted two free throws to trim the deficit to 35-30 with 5:39 to play.
But Seymour, who led the Catamounts with 12 points, soon left the game with a leg injury. Without Seymour, Panther Creek scored only two points the rest of the way on a basket by Allie Tuttle, who finished with 10 points.
"It was a back-and-forth game," Robinson said. "We didn't shoot well, but a lot of that was their defense. They're a good team."