03/02/04 — NJ girls face familiar foe in regional

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NJ girls face familiar foe in regional

By David Williams
Published in Sports on March 2, 2004 1:56 PM

What North Johnston's girls basketball team is losing in preparation time for tonight's N.C. High School Athletic Association Eastern 1-A regional playoffs, they gain back in familiarity.

The Lady Panthers take on Weldon -- the same team that denied coach David Bagwell's team a trip to Greenville in last year's sectional finals.

"Everyone is back," said Bagwell.

Weldon was the Tar-Roanoke Confer-ence's No. 2-seeded team. The Tar-Roanoke champion, Frank-linton, will meet Carolina Conference champion Farmville Central in the other regional semifinal.

The Lady Chargers have just one loss this season and bring to the floor a defensive scheme that concerns Bagwell.

"They press, use half-court zone traps, and their point guard is extremely quick," he said. "And they have a lot of other athletic players."

Bagwell said Weldon's press is not that concerning -- both Rosewood and Farmville Central pressed the Lady Panthers this season and the team knows how to cope with it.

"But their half-court trap is not like we've seen," Bagwell said.

The recent spate of winter weather and an unlucky draw gave North Johnston the short straw for preparation time -- just one practice session after Bagwell gave the team Saturday off.

"We would have taken Saturday off no matter what," he said. "We needed the rest and the time off. It would have been nice to have a few extra days, but that's the luck of the draw.

"Then to play a team like them, that does so much defensively ..."

The team worked on playing against the vaunted trap, and on some other things, in addition to looking at last year's sectional finals game with Weldon on tape during Monday's workout.

"We need to do three things," said Bagwell. " Keep then off the offensive boards, take care of the basketball. And contain their point guard. She is very good."

He also noted that the team has not done a solid job boxing out on the boards all year. He said The Lady Panthers are definitely not just glad to be in the regionals.

"I don't think they're relaxed," he said. "Their job is not finished. There's more they want to do."