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Panthers take to road which could lead to playoffs
by Ericka Birdsong
ebirdsong@neighbornewspapers.com
January 09, 2013 09:35 AM | 1070 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Chapel Hill High players, from left, Earnicia Washington and Ashley Chestnut.
Chapel Hill High players, from left, Earnicia Washington and Ashley Chestnut.
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After 10 games, the Lady Panthers of Chapel Hill were sitting pretty at 8-2 before they jumped into the second half of the season jam packed with region games.

With 15 scheduled games in 2013, 14 of them will count towards their region record and help determine their postseason schedule.

Head coach Christopher Long said he feels like the first part of the season went well and his team played hard.

“Everything is going well. We’re 8-2 right now and the teams we lost to were really good. We didn’t do things down the stretch in the first loss and Greater Atlanta Christian is fit to win their region. If you’re going to lose, lose to the best,” Long said.

Chapel Hill is in a completely new region this season as they moved from 5-AAAA to 4-AAAA, playing all new teams which Long said makes the season “very interesting.”

Based on the first 10 games, the Panthers have two top scorers, Kaneisha Mixon and Ashley Chestnut.

Mixon and Chestnut are both seniors standing 5-foot-5 at the shooting guard position. Mixon averages 14 points a game while Chestnut averages 10.

On the defensive side of the ball Mixon is also one of the top defenders as she averages 3.7 steals a game. The other top two defenders are 5-foot-6 junior point guard Erica Jones, with four steals, and 5-foot-7 senior small forward Earnicia Washington, with 3.7.

“It’s tricky to pick top defenders with our style of play and how close they all are. They are all very active defensively,” Long said.

Along with an aggressive defense, Long said the Panthers also have speed and ball handling skills on their side.

However, they do have a problem with finishing in several types of situations – at the free throw line, playing four solid quarters, and some plays.

Finishing up a full four quarters in every game is one of the goals for the team this season, along with reaching the playoffs and having a winning season, the coach said.

With eight seniors and two juniors currently on the team, Long is looking to go as far as possible this season, as he knows his team will be young next season. However, Long currently suits two freshmen — Rachel Goff and Jazmine Lawrence — on varsity. He believes both will do well.

“They are two great kids, very versatile. We expect a lot from them,” Long said.
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