CARY — The Green Hope boys’ and girls’ varsity basketball teams have a different look this season.
Each team returns only one starter.
But on Wednesday night in the season opener, the Falcon girls came away with a 50-41 win against visiting West Johnston, while the boys defeated the Wildcats 73-58.
New roles for boys
Sophomore point guard Ridge Ford is being asked to do more than last year, and that’s fine with him.
Ford has always had a scoring mentality, but as a freshman on a team full of seniors last year, he had to take a year off from his usual role.
“I scored 30 points a game in middle school, then came here and played with more experienced guys… so it was a good experience. I learned a lot,” Ford said. “I’d like to score 20, but I’ll take 14 and eight assists.”
Ford had 14 points, while classmate Akeem Tate had a game-high 23 points and senior Jack Costigan added 18. The Falcons didn’t trail in the game, but West cut the lead to four in the third quarter and six in the fourth.
“Offensively, I thought we looked good,” Green Hope coach John Green said. “We shared the ball and we attacked the basket well. We really struggled with communication and defense. We were giving up a lot of transition jump shots and we weren’t boxing out.”
Tate added a game-high five steals and was one of four Falcons with four rebounds. Jonah Saacks had a team-high five boards.
“That’s the one thing that we’ll probably give up if we go with four guards (in the lineup),” Green said of rebounds.
West Johnston had a balanced scoring effort with five players scoring 10, nine or eight points each. It was a strong performance for a team that went 2-20 last year and scored 58 points only twice.
“That shows they’ve been working hard and getting better, and that we can’t take games off,” Ford said.
Guard Tyrone Jones-Benson (six points) had a game-high nine rebounds. Cameron Williams led the Wildcats in points (10) and assists (four).
Jarvin Holder, John Graham and Joshua Banfalvy each had nine points, and Ryne Turner had eight.
Falcons girls pull away late
The Green Hope girls saved their best quarter for last, turning a three-point lead at the end of the third quarter into a double-digit advantage in a handful of possessions.
“We started looking for each other more and started doing more basket cuts,” coach Mike Robinson said.
Candace Flemmings had her first career double-double with 10 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
Erin Coogan had 12 points and seven assists while freshman Kelly Fitzgerald handed out six assists and scored 11 points. Brandi Mosser scored 10 points and had nine rebounds.
“(Erin) is stepping up as far as leadership. She’s going to have to play the majority of the basketball game. Candace – we’re now looking to her to be the go-to girl,” Robinson said.
West got a game-high 15 points from Avvette Smith, nine from Jarmeia Holder – who added eight rebounds – and eight from Tanay Smith. Tori Strickland had two points and eight rebounds.
The Wildcats were 9-of-21 from the free throw line, hampering their comeback efforts.
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