Pirates meet North Meck in quarterfinals
Porter Ridge High girls basketball coach Ina Thompson sees a lot of similarities between her team and its next opponent.
The Pirates face North Mecklenburg in the 4A state quarterfinals at the Greensboro Coliseum annex gym today starting at 7 p.m.
“(North Meck) is a spitting image of our self,” said Pirates coach Ina Thompson, whose team is 25-3 entering tonight’s game. “They play the same tempo and same style, and they use their press to generate their offense. Looking at the characteristics of both teams, it’s almost like playing your sister.”
The Vikings have a lot of balance on offense. They have six players averaging better than 6.5 points per game, including 5-foot-8 junior guard Destiny Barrino, who leads the team at 12.5 ppg.
Junior Brianna Jones is at 7.9 ppg, followed by senior Kelly Beasley (7.5), sophomore Jaydah Hayden (7.0), senior Jasmine Cash (6.6) and senior Kelsey Ellison (6.5).
North Meck’s playoff run includes victories over Lake Norman (62-43), Watauga (69-64 OT) and West Meck (61-52).
While the Pirates essentially use a seven-player rotation, and seldom play more than eight in a game, North Meck has a different approach.
“They have a lot of depth on their bench, so a lot of people will be in and out,” said Thompson. “We just want to play our game and see if we can sustain the tempo and try to create some turnovers.”
Porter Ridge relies on a pair of senior standouts in Jasmine Huntley (15.3 ppg) and Jada Huntley (12.4 ppg).
Jasmine Huntley has especially effective in the postseason, averaging 17.3 ppg in the Pirates’ playoff wins over Providence (56-33), McDowell (68-54) and Alexander Central (71-53).
Despite being 5-3, she demonstrated her explosiveness as a scorer with 24 in the third-round victory over Alexander Central.
Thompson says the Pirates, who have won 19 straight, are looking forward to representing the program in the 4A state semifinals for the first time in school history.
“The girls are really excited and anxious,” said Thompson. “There’s some drawback not playing for a week, but it’s helped us prepare more. I think the team was ready to play Tuesday or Wednesday after we won last Friday. I’m excited for them to play in this venue and we’re ready to get on the road.”