Ayden-Grifton boys win, girls fall to North Pitt
Ayden-Grifton’s Moses Tufts slices through the North Pitt defense to score in Tuesday’s game. Photo by William “Bud” Hardy / Neuse News
AYDEN | Free throws usually don’t spark a big run, but Ayden-Grifton used them Tuesday and never looked back.
A pair of runs in the second and third quarter gave the Chargers necessary separation in a 69-52 victory over North Pitt Tuesday. The Chargers (4-3) turned a close game in their favor after Jordan Atkinson nailed four straight free throws to spark a 15-0 spurt before halftime and had another to start the second half.
“It felt like after I hit those free throws there was more hope for us to really make a run,” Atkinson said. “(Before then) we weren’t as aggressive and our defense really picked up from there too.”
There were seven lead changes in the game’s first four minutes before North Pitt (4-5) garnered separation and took a 23-17 lead early in the second. From there, Nate Harris would hit a free throw for the Chargers and Atkinson would follow with four straight after being fouled, followed by a Panthers technical. Atkinson would score eight points in the run, which helped propel Ayden-Grifton to a 32-25 halftime advantage.
The Chargers exploded in the third quarter, connecting on their first five shots during a 13-3 run to put the game away. Atkinson and James Richardson handled most of the scoring in the second half with a combined 25 points as Ayden-Grifton went up by as many as 19.
“We worked hard for this,” Richardson said. “Coach (John Moye) told us to play with more heart and if we wanted it bad enough we could pull away. That’s exactly what we did with those two runs.”
Moye said the team’s defensive pressure and aggressive style were the catalysts for the nonconference win.
“We started pushing the ball down court and forcing them into foul trouble,” Moye said. “As a result, we were able to frustrate them more while we pulled away.”
AYDEN GRIFTON 69, NORTH PITT 52
NP 19 6 11 16 — 52
AG 15 17 20 17 — 69
NORTH PITT — N/A
AYDEN-GRIFTON — Jordan Atkinson 22, James Richardson 18, Jeffery Gunter 10, Tufts 7, Harris 7, Hudson 3, Connell 1, Wright 1
Fouled out: None.
Technical fouls: NP — N/A.
Three-pointers: NP — N/A. AG — Atkinson 2, Richarson 2, Tufts, Hudson.
In the girls’ game, North Pitt never trailed in a 64-39 victory.
The Panthers (7-2) forced the Chargers into 4 of 31 shooting in the first half with 15 turnovers, building an advantage as high as 20 before intermission.
“The last couple of weeks we’ve had some good practices and going into the Christmas tournament at (Greenville Rose on Wednesday) we wanted to have momentum,” North Pitt coach William Knight said.
The Panthers kept the momentum in the second half as the Chargers (4-4) wouldn’t get within 19 points. North Pitt would stretch its advantage to as many as 33.
Ayden-Grifton coach Charles Kessel said it was a needed test against the defending NCHSAA 2A state champions.
“They turned us over early and really prevented us from scoring,” Kessel said. “You can’t expect to win a game by scoring only 15 points in the first half, especially against a team as good as North Pitt. This was a great test for us in nonconference play and it’ll help us when we get back to conference play — these are the teams you have to play if you want to get better.”
NORTH PITT 64, AYDEN-GRIFTON 39
NP 18 16 20 10 — 64
AG 8 7 8 16 — 39
NORTH PITT — Ashanti Hines 16, Tjuanna Williams 14, Casandra Watson 11, Maye 6, Newton 6, Bradley 4, Pettaway 3, Barrett 2, Dillard 2
AYDEN-GRIFTON — Zy’kierah Andrews 11, Little 8, M. Hardy 4, Williams 3, Bryant 3, Outlaw 3, Docsh 2, Smith 2, L. Hardy 2, Hardee 1
Fouled out: AG — Bryant.
Technical fouls: None.
Three-pointers: NP — Hines 2, Williams 2, Newton, Watson. AG — Williams, Little.