By ALEX SPONSELLER
The Johnston girls basketball team extended its win streak to nine games as it beat Times Squared Academy 44-27 last week. The win improved Johnston’s record to 9-1 and helps it maintain control of second place in the Division IV standings.
The Panthers came out rolling early and would mount a 28-0 lead to put the game out of reach by halftime. The Panthers have jumped out to some fast leads as of late, but coach Jhamal Diggs is looking for them to start even sharper moving forward.
“I’m our biggest critic and I would like to see us get out even faster. Our goal is always to hit first and to come out fast,” said Diggs.
While Jayanah Rollins and Bella Gesualdi led the Panther offense in the first half, senior point guard Aubree Allen would run the show in the second and help the subs off the bench close out the win. Diggs was happy to give his bench players some minutes and is relying on Allen to continue to set the tone as the team’s most experienced veteran.
“I hope that what the girls learned here tonight is that everyone matters, it’s a team effort. It doesn’t matter if you’re the seventh girl off the bench, the eighth girl, everyone needs to practice hard and know their role. Tonight they realized that they have to be here, it’s not just the starters,” Diggs said. “The keys are there for [Allen] to take, she’s a senior and has been playing since she was a freshman. She’s our senior point guard, she can do it, she can be that leader for us and we are starting to see that get going.”
“As the point guard, I’m just focused on keeping the tempo. The girls that are getting subbed in and out are just learning and we are trying to keep the culture. As seniors, we are trying to build the program and tonight I was just trying to keep the tempo, slow things down and lead. That’s my job,” said Allen.
As the team enters the home stretch of the regular season, Allen hopes that the team can continue to gel while focusing on the task at hand as it emerges as perhaps the favorite in DIV.
“When we start big, it gets us all hyped. When we can get a big lead, it gets us excited to work together and keep going. We’re clicking good right now. We go hard at practice and are always looking [for ways] to get better,” Allen said. “We’re looking at the standings, but we’re taking it one game at a time. We don’t want to look too far ahead, we want to focus one game at a time.”
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