02/22/04 — NJ can't stay with Farmville in Carolina girls title

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NJ can't stay with Farmville in Carolina girls title

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on February 22, 2004 2:00 AM

MOUNT OLIVE -- North Johnston girls basketball coach David Bagwell knew coming into the game that stopping Farmville Central's do-it-all point guard Megan Zullo would obviously be a huge key in the Class 1-A Carolina Conference Tournament championship.

There were periods in the game when the sophomore proved too much for the Lady Panthers on both ends of the floor as the Lady Jaguars claimed their second-straight tournament title at Mount Olive College's College Hall on Friday night with a 69-60 win.

Zullo finished with 22 points, nine rebounds, six assists and four steals in the win for Farmville, who ran through the Carolina Conference unbeaten at 12-0 and solidified that mark by sweeping through the tournament.

The Lady Panthers' Helen Moore led all scorers, finishing with 25 points, including nine-of-12 at the free-throw line.

North Johnston, the conference's second seed, will take on the winner of the Coastal Plains Conference number-two seed and Lakewood on Wednesday.

"It's extremely important that we come back Monday focused and playing together," Bagwell said.

Bagwell, frustrated with his starters, put in his reserves early in the third period after Farmville had opened the third with a 14-0 run after leading only 33-28 at the half. The reserves didn't cut into the lead, but scrapped with the Lady Jags, currently ranked third in the 1-A ihigh.com coaches/media poll.

Paced by 13 points by Zullo in the third, Farmville took a 58-37 lead into the fourth.

Despite making just one field goal in the first 5:30 of the fourth, North Johnston made 13 of 16 free throws in the period and played solid pressure defense.

After being dominated in the first three, North Johnston closed the game solid -- outscoring the Lady Jags 21-11 in the fourth.

The Panthers also started the game strong, jumping out to an 11-2 lead with five minutes left in the first on an assist from Krystal Atkinson to Moore.

Zullo went on to seven points to finish the period, while Austin Branch, who finished with 15 points, gave the Lady Jags their first lead at 15-13 with 1:30 left in the first.

Farmville never trailed again.

"We came out strong, did a lot of good things well, but when they made the run, we tried to do too many things individually," Bagwell said. "We made some bad passes during that time, and they made their shots."

Before the Jags'' big third-period outburst, North Johnston kept the game tight in the second period. Lakisha McFadden's tough runner pulled the Panthers to within three with one minute left in the half at 31-28.

2004 Class 1-A Carolina Confernce Tournament

(at Mount Olive College)

Girls championship

North Johnston 15 13 11 21 -- 60

Farmville Central 19 14 25 11 -- 69


Helen Moore 8 0 9-12 25, Krystal Atkinson 3 1 2-3 11, Janna Rogerson 3 0 5-6 11, Caroline Hines 2 0 0-0 4, Lakisha McFadden 2 0 0-0 4, Shanice Williams 1 0 1-4 3, Amanda Pope 1 0 0-0 2. TOTALS -- 20 1 17-25 60.


Megan Zullo 4 4 2-2 22, Ashley Harris 6 0 3-4 15, Austin Branch 5 0 0-0 10, Nevada Joyner 2 1 1-3 8, Kim Zullo 3 0 1-2 7, Natsuki Amano 2 0 0-0 4, Nicole Hamill 1 0 0-0 2. TOTALS -- 23 5 7-11 69.

Three-point baskets -- North Johnston 1 (Atkinson), Farmville Central 5 (M. Zullo 4, Joyner). Turnovers -- North Johnston 15, Farmville Central 19. Total fouls -- North Johnston 8, Farmville Central 18. Fouled out -- none. Technicals -- none.