Panthers aiming for top seed


The Johnston girls basketball team continues to roll as it enters the final week of the regular season.
With two pivotal matchups remaining, including one against first-place Davies, the Panthers are focused and hungry to get the win and clinch Division IV’s top seed.
“It’s super important. We want that top seed and we’re hoping to carry some momentum into the playoffs,” said coach Jhamal Diggs.
Davies beat Johnston on opening night when the Panthers were shorthanded. Davies has maintained first place since then and the Panthers have not lost. A Johnston win would help the Panthers leapfrog their way into the top spot.
“[The girls] remember that we lost, but we’re a totally different team than the one that played that night. We’re very excited and looking forward to playing our best,” said Diggs.
The Panthers picked up two wins in the past week, topping Blackstone Valley Prep 53-20 on the road and then beating Block Island on Monday 59-17.
Bella Gesualdi led the team with 18 points against BVP while Jayanah Rollins added 15.
With the final two games carrying such heavy playoff implications, the Panthers are essentially in playoff mode already. Diggs is confident that the team has the mental edge to push forward and get the job done. The team battled third-place Hope in a tight road contest in a recent outing, one in which the Panthers had to complete a comeback to get the victory.
“This team has shown a lot of resilience and a lot of grit. Being in a game like that on the road in a hostile atmosphere, this team has shown a lot of grit. When we played Davies the first game, that was a test. They’ve passed every test and I believe that they’re ready. They’ve been battle tested before,” said Diggs.
The team is also excited to make a deep run and add to the town’s recent basketball success.
“We try to manifest it, we try to talk about it and it’s good to put it into perspective. The girls are excited and a lot of them haven’t been in this position before. It’s good for the community and good for them to be a part of a winning and championship atmosphere,” Diggs said. “It’s been a great year.”


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