Prep basketball preview: Carter leads Lexington girls

Four years ago, the gap between the top girls’ teams in the Central Carolina Conference and Lexington was wider than a full-court shot.

Now, the Yellow Jackets are knocking on the door and looking to win a conference championship.

In a league that has perennially started and ended with Salisbury, Jasmine Carter has led a resurgence at Lexington that seems to be gaining steam. This week, Carter signed a National Letter of Intent to play at College of Charleston. A dominant low-post player who has learned how to burn defenses from the perimeter, Carter averaged 17 points and 11 rebounds last year. That helped the Jackets finish second in the conference standings.

Carter suffered an injury in the final week of the season, and Lexington lost in the conference tournament and first round of the playoffs. Coach Lamont Johnson hopes to keep the team moving in the right direction this season. “Expectations are high now,” Johnson said. “I kind of look forward to that challenge.”

Every game in the CCC seems to present a different challenge. Central Davidson should be rock solid again, and Thomasville always puts a good team on the floor. East Davidson lost a ton of nail-biters last year and returns the bulk of that team.

“I think any one of us can win or be beaten on any given night,”

Johnson added. “We’ve got to bring our ‘A’ game. It’s gonna be interesting this year.”

Junior Alexis Fowler returns to provide plenty of help for Carter in the paint. They form a post duo that is a tough match-up for any opponent down low.

That will put a heavy burden on the guards and wings, who hope to prevent defenses from clogging up the middle. Junior point guard Chariti Wall can knock down the open 3, as well as senior shooting guard D’Necia Ausborne.

Beyond that, the Jackets will count on a handful of new faces for production on both ends of the floor. Sophomore Nadia Suoy will see time at shooting guard, and four freshmen — guards Emerson Hayes and Karrigan Ellison and forwards Kahari Sanders and Olivia Brown — will need to put in quality minutes right away to take some of the heat off of the top four.

Aside from her scoring and defensive presence, Johnson will depend on Carter to provide leadership in the locker room and on the court, especially with all of the inexperience around her. “Jasmine has always felt like, it was the seniors’ year,” he explained. “So this year, by her being a senior, I hope it’s her breakout year.

“I know she’s gonna say, ‘This is it; it’s all or nothing.’”

Lexington opened the season with an overtime loss at Reagan on Tuesday. The Jackets visit High Point Andrews on Tuesday.

Jason Queen can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 220, or