Balanced scoring effort helps Johnston overpower Tolman

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The Johnston girls’ basketball team improved to 5-0 last Wednesday evening with an overwhelming, 54-21 victory against Tolman.

The Panthers overpowered the visiting Tigers out of the gate, holding Tolman to just six points over the first 16 minutes of play. Johnston’s balanced offensive attack and smothering defense sparked it to a 39-6 lead by halftime.

With the insurmountable lead, Johnston took its foot off the gas in the second half, as the two teams played evenly, 15-15. But the strong first half was more than enough to help the Panthers secure their fifth Division II win of the season.

The Panthers had 10 different players score in the victory, led by a game-high 11 points from junior Gabby DiRaimo. Bianca Robbins, Julianna Zalewski, Amelia Moore and Caroline Howe all scored six points apiece, while Cleasia Peoples added five points of her own. Additionally, Jordan Moretti, Lauren Civetti and Megan Philbrick each scored four points, and Sarah Bandoma rounded out the scoring with two points.

Johnston also put forth a tremendous defensive effort, allowing just three Tolman players to score in the game. Ally Larson scored a team-high 10 points, followed by Julia Al-Amir with nine points on three 3-pointers and Victoria Percy chipped in two points.

Unfortunately for Johnston, though, it couldn’t keep its unbeaten season going at undefeated Scituate on Monday night. The Spartans were coming in red hot after defeating Division I Cranston East and Cranston West for the Hank Orabone Holiday Tournament title the week prior.

The Spartans were able to emerge victorious in the battle of unbeatens, controlling play on their home floor en route to a 67-50 win.

With the loss, the Panthers dropped to 5-1 in Division II play. They were looking to bounce back against Ponaganset on Wednesday, but results were unavailable at press time.

Johnston will also host Lincoln on Friday at 7 p.m., before gearing up for a rematch of last year’s D-II title matchup at East Providence next Wednesday at 7 p.m.

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