JAMES CITY -- Jamiyah Johnson may not need to shoulder the entire load this season for the Jamestown girls basketball team, but her authoritative presence remains.
Johnson, a junior, scored 23 in the Eagles’ 61-43 win Tuesday at Lafayette (1-3) and added 19 rebounds and three blocks.
Nineteen might seem like a gaudy number of boards – not for Johnson – it’s only two more than she averaged last season.
Johnson scored three straight buckets in a fourth-quarter stretch Tuesday, two of them on put-backs in the same place under the basket following rebounds of her own shot.
She ripped down rebounds with one hand and the thud of one of her blocks late in the fourth quarter reverberated around the Rams’ gym.
“I’ve always been the boss of the court,” Johnson said, “had that aggressive tone on the court.”
“She’s a leader,” Jamestown coach Mary Glisan said. “They look to her.”
As powerful as she is in the post, Johnson is also a threat to knock down a jumper. She converted one 3-pointer Tuesday, but that’s enough to keep opposing defenses honest.
Johnson scored eight in the first quarter to help Jamestown (2-2) jump out to an early lead it would extend to 12 points by halftime after a 5-0 Lafayette run to close the half.
“She creates matchup problems for us because we got in foul trouble at the beginning,” Lafayette coach Dan Downs said. “We had to go small and got beat on the boards.”
The extra backup Johnson has this season has led to an improved team product. That includes newcomers Caroline Boyd, a transfer, and freshmen Anaya Simmons and Corynthian Williams.
Injuries were also an issue last season for Jamestown so Simmons leaving the gym Tuesday on crutches after exiting the contest in the fourth quarter with an injury was an all too familiar sight for the Eagles.
Simmons scored 10 against the Rams and guard Olivia Peterson tallied eight points.
“I think Jamiyah doesn’t feel like she has to do it all,” Glisan said.
Glisan also praised Peterson’s defense against Lafayette. The Eagles put an emphasis on pressuring Rams guard Rachel Lia.
Lia finished with nine points and so did Raven Blake. Kenya Holiday led Lafayette with 18.
“We didn’t function as a team tonight,” Downs said. “That’s what it comes down to.”
Jamestown next visits Warhill on Thursday and Lafayette visits York.
Jamestown: Peterson 8, Sim 4, Boyd 7, Graves 5, Simmons 10, Johnson 23, Williams 4
Lafayette: Gubler 2, Roberts 2, Harriston 1, Mooridian 2, Lia 9, Holiday 18, Blake 9.