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Johnson posts double-double, Harris shines as Bearcats beat Young Harris

Johnson posts double-double, Harris shines as Bearcats beat Young Harris

GREENWOOD – Breshay Johnson posted a double-double with 22 points and 16 rebounds while Jessica Harris flirted with a triple-double, leading the Lander Bearcats to their seventh straight win, 80-58, over Peach Belt Conference rival Young Harris College Thursday night at Horne Arena.

Lander improved to 20-5 overall, giving the Bearcats their fourth consecutive season with at least 20 wins. Lander's only other such streak came from 2007-12, when the Bearcats recorded five straight seasons with 20 victories.

The Bearcats remained in second place in the Peach Belt standings at 15-4, trailing only North Georgia (17-2). Flagler is in third place at 14-5.

The Mountain Lions fell to 9-17, 6-13.

Lander has outscored its opponents by an average of close to 25 points during its winning streak.

"Our defense was a little off tonight," said head coach Kevin Pederson, "but we were able to get our offense going when we needed to. Jessica Harris had another fantastic performance, I can't say enough about how she's played lately. She has really done it all for us. 

Johnson, who broke the school's career scoring record on Monday, extended her points total to 1,780 points. She scored her 20 points Thursday on nine of 12 shooting from the floor.

Harris also had a big game, scoring 20 points while leading the Bearcats with nine assists and also grabbing seven rebounds.

Chelsea Mitchell added 14 points and six boards for Lander. Ariana Sanders contributed 11 points while Destinee Langford added eight points.

Ge'Naisha Robinson led all scorers with 24 points, making nine of 13 floor shots for Young Harris. Ashlyn Ellison scored 10 points while Sarah Garner added nine points while pacing the Mountain Lions with 14 rebounds. Eryn Cochran led the visitors with six assists.

Young Harris took a 12-7 advantage with 3:34 left in the first quarter on Robinson's layup. Lander responded with 10 unanswered points, taking the lead for good. Sanders and Harris hit 3s during the run. The Bearcats were up 17-15 going into the second period.

Robinson made another layup to pull the Mountain Lions within 22-19 with 7:24 remaining in the half. But Johnson scored three times, helping Lander build a 30-22 lead on its way to a 35-26 halftime advantage.

Leading 37-28 early in the third, the Bearcats went on an 8-2 run. Christal Williams converted a steal into a layup, Langford made a layup, Mitchell scored on another Williams steal, and Langford scored again inside making it 45-30 with 5:05 left.

Robinson's offensive rebound and put-back sliced Young Harris's deficit to 47-38. Lander extended the lead back to 15 on a Harris 3 from the left corner and a Sanders 3 from the top of the key to make it 53-38. The Bearcats were up 53-41 going into the fourth.

Ellison opened the final quarter with a layup and the Mountain Lions were within 10 points. Lander responded again, putting together a 10-2 run to stretch the margin to 63-45, its biggest lead of the game.

Harris sparked the run, collecting a steal and driving nearly the length of the court for a floater, was fouled and completed a three-point play. Mitchell made a layup off a Harris steal, and Mitchell scored again on a Harris assist to highlight the run.

Johnson split a double-team for a layup, giving the Bearcats a 70-53 lead with 3:17 to go.

Lander expanded its lead beyond 20 points inside the two-minute mark. Harris swished a 3 from the right corner, then Langford grabbed a back-court steal leading to Johnson catching a teammate's air ball and laying it in for an 80-56 lead.