Northside girls looking for leadership, return leading scorer

Published 9:00 am Saturday, November 19, 2022

The Northside girls will be less experienced than in the past two years, but have their leading scorer, another starter and top reserve back from last season.

The Panthers have put together consecutive runs to the fourth round of the 1A East playoffs, losing at Princeton two years ago and at Bertie last year. Point guard Paige Sawyer was the link to both squads, but she and the captain of the 2020 squad, Katie Godley, have moved to the sidelines to serve as Michelle Leathers assistant coaches. Defensive stalwart Hensley Jordan and post player Shyanne Buck also graduated from last year’s squad.

Junior Mariah Jones returns after leading the Panthers with 18 points a game last year, along with sophomore guard Olivia Jane (OJ) Cahoon and senior Jean Grace DeHoog, who will move into the starting lineup.

“We will miss our three seniors, but it will be great to have Katie and Paige with me on the bench. They’ve already made an impact in practice because the players know they have been successful.”

Jones has started since her freshman year and Leathers expects her to continue to improve and set the tone for her younger teammates.

“She’s more vocal on the floor than she has been and she’s also stronger,” Leathers said. “She needs to be more aggressive in taking the ball to the basket instead of settling for the outside shot. We will play hard and I expect this group to improve as the season continues.”

The Panthers finished second in the Coastal Plains Conference the past two season, behind Pamlico County and East Carteret and expects both to contend again this winter.

Northside opens at home Wednesday against the Northeast Academy for Aerospace and Technology Charter School of Elizabeth City.