Comets hand Cougars first loss of season

Stephanie King

Mid-Piedmont Conference basketball action was back in full swing on Friday as the Asheboro Lady Blue Comets hosted cross-town rival the Southwestern Randolph Cougars. Asheboro entered Friday’s game 2-1 in conference play and 10-4 overall on the season, while Southwestern Randolph came in undefeated at 3-0 in conference play and 15-0 overall on the season. The last time these two teams met was during the semifinals for the Courier-Tribune Christmas Invitational where the Cougars posted a 63-41 win before winning the whole tournament.

Asheboro got off to a strong start in the first quarter jumping out to a 13-7 lead before the end of the quarter. Jordan Claborn cut the Comets’ lead to four with a pair of free throws at the start of the second quarter, but Tanaesha Ellison answered with a pair on the other end. Alexis Maness knocked down one at the line before the Comets went on a 6-0 run that included back to back fastbreak buckets from Diamond McDowell. The Comets led 21-10. A bucket from Sarah Crews ended the run, but the Comets responded with a free throw from Salem Lee and a bucket from Ellison. Alexis Maness scored down low for the Cougars to cut the lead to ten before Ashton Maness drilled a three to get it down to seven. A pair of free throws from McDowell extended the Comets’ lead back to nine late in the quarter. The Cougars trimmed the lead to six on a three from Heaven Maness, but a floater from Ellison capped off the quarter for the Comets. At halftime, Asheboro led 28-20.

Southwestern Randolph opened the third quarter with a 9-2 run to cut the lead to one before McDowell ended the run with a three-point play for the Comets. Ellison scored on a drive to extend the Comets’ lead to six at 35-29. Ashton Maness drained a three for the Cougars, but the Comets answered on the other end with a three of their own to keep their lead at six. A bucket from Claborn and a free-throw from Crews cut the lead to three midway through the quarter. After a bucket from Ellison, Crews scored the final four points of the quarter to cut the lead to one for the Cougars. After three complete quarters, Asheboro led 40-39 over Southwestern Randolph.

The Cougars stuck around using a 6-2 run to start the fourth quarter and take a 45-42 lead over the Comets. A bucket from McDowell and a three from Kesley Nance put the Comets back on top midway through the quarter. Southwestern Randolph tied the game at 47-47 on a pair of free throws from Alexis Maness with just under four minutes left in the game. The Cougars would never regain the lead as Asheboro used a 12-6 run capped off by a fastbreak bucket from McDowell defeat the Cougars 59-53.

Leading the way for the Comets was Tanaesha Ellison and Diamond McDowell each with 23 points. Janiya Jackson finished with six points, while Kesley Nance added four and Salem Lee chipped in three. Jordan Claborn led the Cougars with 14 points, while Sarah Crews and Ashton Maness each finished with 11.

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