Parrott girls advance to second round
Arendell Parrott’s Mary Helen Hood brings the ball up the court with Coastal Christian’s Bella Lucci in pursuit during Tuesday’s first round playoff game. Photo by William “Bud” Hardy / Neuse News
The Arendell Parrott Academy girls’ basketball team overcame a sluggish start to topple Wilmington Coastal Christian in Tuesday’s first-round NCISAA playoffs. The victory advances the Patriots (11-11) to Thursday’s second-round matchup at Wilmington Cape Fear Academy at 4 p.m. on Thursday.
“We played (Coastal Christian) earlier in the season and beat them by six points, so I knew it would be tough for us,” APA coach Kelly Johnson said. “I think the girls had to get comfy playing in our defensive scheme and trusting each other.”
Alex Melk scored on APA’s possession to give the Patriots an early lead. Coastal Christian roared back with a pair of 3-pointers from Kristina Quigley and another one from Bella Lecci, to help their team on an 11-0 run. The Patriots struggled early on with their shooting and rebounding.
APA also struggled from the free throw line, only hitting 1-of-15 attempts in the first half. But after jumping out to an early lead, the Centurions cooled off. Parrott bounced back and went on an 8-0 run to end the first. The Centurions still held an 11-10 lead.
“We got off to a great start. That’s the kind of start we needed against a team like this,” Coastal Christian coach Mike Scheffel said. “I think that, in a way, that fast start hurt us. We struggled in the second quarter, got frustrated, and then made more mistakes. I give credit to coach Johnson and his team. They kept attacking us and did a good job making us unsettled.”
APA’s Rachael Okonkwo nearly pulled off the double-double with nine points and 12 rebounds.
“This was my first playoff game, so it was really exciting,” she said. “We beat them the first time, but I think we underestimated them. The knocked us back pretty hard, but it woke us up. We got frustrated early and our offense lagged, but then our defense took over and we came back pretty strong.”
Johnson said it was a good win for his squad.
“We’ve been down like this before late in the season, but we’ve come back,” he said. “This is how the games are going to be as we advance in the playoffs. But this is building us confidence. It is toughening us up. Cameron and Mary Helen (Hood) both came up big for us from the bench. We are a young team and are going to be learning as we are going along.”
COASTAL CHRISTIAN: Edwards 11, Quigley 9, Lecci 8, Barton 8, Fuller 4
ARENDELL PARROTT ACADEMY: Blair 14, Okonkwo 9, Jones 9, Ouano 7, Hood 6, Melk 4, Sydes 2