Panthers ready to roll in DIV playoff race


The Johnston girls basketball team resumed its regular season this week after cruising to a 5-1 start to take second place in Division IV before the holiday break.
After a tough opening night loss to Davies on the road, the Panthers roared to five straight wins to climb up to second place in Division IV.
Leading the way for Johnston to this point has been sophomore standout Bella Gesualdi, who scored 31 points in the team’s win against Block Island and has led the Panthers in total offense. Ava Waterman finished the game with 18. Waterman also scored 20 points against Blackstone Valley Prep while Jayanah Rollins scored 30 against Times Squared.
After losing to Davies, the Panthers have been motivated and slowly settling in on their lineup, according to coach Jhamal Diggs.
“We were trying new things, trying to figure out what we could do. That game was a good learning experience for us in getting to know what our philosophies are going to be and what we’re going to have to do to be successful. Since then, we’ve been able to execute and be productive,” Diggs said.
Diggs has been thrilled with Gesualdi’s start as she was called on to be one of the team’s leaders as an underclassmen after a breakout freshmen campaign.
“Bella is off to a great start. This year she’s playing a more versatile position, she’s distributing the ball really well, she’s had a few double-doubles. She’s made a huge impact, not just scoring, but rebounding and getting her teammates involved. She’s done a really good job with that,” said DIggs.
As the Panthers get geared up to enter the meat of their regular season slate, the goal is to inch their way toward being a championship-caliber team.
“We’re a really well-balanced basketball team.We’ve been playing really good basketball and everyone has been contributing,” said Diggs. “The season is still young and we’re off to a really good start. We just want to keep getting better night in and night out. We want to get better until we accomplish our goal. We’re going to focus on ourselves and just try to improve on our weaknesses.”


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