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Lions Girls Win Opener

Halifax County Middle School’s young girls basketball team showed its youthfulness early in Thursday’s season opener here against Bonner Middle School.

But, after the second half got underway, the Lions began hitting on all cylinders.

The Lions outscored Bonner 18-5 in the third quarter and pulled away to an easy 47-32 win.

“Nobody could get started in the first quarter,” said Lions coach James Smith, pointing to a litany of early mistakes and turnovers.

“We missed too many lay-ups in the beginning. I know that’s nerves. I’ve got 10 girls on this team that are sixth-graders and seventh-graders and I know it’s going to take some time.”

The team’s two top returning players, Alexia Tucker and Janiyah Logan, led the Lions with 23 points and 14 points respectively. They accounted for all but 10 of the points the Lions scored in the game.

Between them, they scored eight of the Lions’ first 10 points of the game. In the second quarter, Tucker scored eight of the 10 points that the Lions scored in the seven-minute stanza.

That was a good thing for the Lions as they struggled through a 4-4 deadlock in the first four and a half minutes before Logan and Tucker combined to score six unanswered points down the stretch to give the Lions a 10-4 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Halifax led by as many as 10 points in the second quarter but couldn’t quite put Bonner away. At intermission, the Lions led 20-11.

The tone of the game changed quickly in the first minute of the second half. Two quick lay-ups by Tucker and a lay-up from Brittani Boxley put the Lions up 26-11, effectively taking the air of Bonner’s sails.

Halifax County rang up a 36-13 lead on Bonner on a basket by Mandria Brandon off of a steal. At the end of the quarter, the Lions led 38-16.

Bonner outscored the Lions 16-11 in the final quarter, but it was much too little too late as the Lions sealed the season opener.

“We made a few adjustments at halftime and the girls calmed down a little bit,” Smith said.

“I told them games are won in the third quarter, that if they came out and played well in the third quarter we could put them away. That was the best quarter they played all night.”

Smith pointed out that he was pleased with the win.

“I’m impressed with what I saw,” noted the Lions coach.

“It’s good to play a team that will give you a game in the beginning so you can see what you need to work on. We’ve got some things we need to work on. I think we’ll be alright by tournament time.”

The Lions will be idle until Tuesday, Dec. 1, when they go on the road to Gibson Middle School in Danville. Game time is 4:30 p.m.