Johnston pulls away late, beats East Providence in girls’ hoops

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EAST PROVIDENCE — Visiting Johnston pulled away from host East Providence High School Wednesday night, Dec. 18, in a non-league girls’ basketball outing, as the Panthers eventually earned a 59-50 victory over the Townies.

Johnston closed the contest on a 19-5 run, turning a five-point deficit into a nine-point win. East Providence, which lost to Moses Brown in its Injury Fund opener last week, slipped to 0-2 on the young season.

Despite the setback, EPHS head coach Mike Solitro was upbeat about his team’s performance.

“I was thoroughly impressed with the way the girls played tonight. It was fun. I had fun coaching this game,” Coach Solitro said.

Sophomore Angela Leonardo led the locals with a career-best 21 points. The Townies’ rangy point guard scored 10 points in the opening 16 minutes, including seven in a row to give the locals their first lead (13-11) of the night. East Providence trailed 26-21 at the break. Ten of the Panthers’ 12 field goals in the first half came via layups.

Karina Mattera led Johnston with a game-best 22 points, the junior guard scoring 13 before intermission.

The Townies rallied early in the final 16 minutes to level the score at 31-apiece. The hosts eventually built a 45-40 lead with just about six minutes to play before the Panthers answered with their game-ending run.

Julia Andrade scored nine of her 11 points for East Providence in the second half. Shantel Hall chipped in eight for the Townies.

East Providence returns to action Friday night, Dec. 20, for another non-league home game against North Providence. Tip time is 7 o’clock.

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