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L-E girls press their way past Camden, 49-39

Posted: December 3, 2011 2:10 p.m.
Updated: December 5, 2011 5:00 a.m.

L-E’S SAMANTHA JEAN WRAPS a pass around Camden’s Sharneece Gary during Friday’s game.


Even for an opening night, this was a bit discouraging.

With her veteran team opening Friday’s game at rival Lugoff-Elgin by taking an 8-6 lead in the first four minutes of play, Camden head coach Natalie Jeffcoat admitted to almost being blindsided by the 15-0 L-E run which followed over the next three and a half minutes.

Forcing four straight turnovers with the press, Von Duncan’s Lady Demons turned a two-point deficit into a 21-8 lead which they would not look back on in a 49-39 win over their cross-river rivals Friday night inside the Demons Den.

With a three-guard set which includes two three-year starters and a senior, Jeffcoat did not expect the press to rattle her backcourt the way it did.

"We lost our composure against the press … we really did," said the former CHS and USC standout. "That surprised me because I didn’t think that would happen. We have a veteran group out there.

"We dug too deep of a hole for ourselves."

Trailing, 8-6, with 4:05 left in the first half, L-E cut the lead to one with what, at the time, appeared to be an innocent free throw from Samantha Jean. Then, however, came the press which overtook the Lady Bulldogs like a tidal wave.

Steals on successive possessions led to a pair of baskets from L-E guard Dahiana Rodriguez gave the hostesses a 9-8 lead while eliciting a Camden time out. The string of press problems continued when the guests promptly turned the ball over on two straight possessions with Nakeisha Counts scoring four straight points to give the Lady Demons a 15-8 advantage.

The 15-0 spree to end the first quarter closed with six points in a row from Alexis Williams as Von Duncan’s squad (1-1) built a 21-8 advantage after the first eight minutes of play, thanks in great part to the full-court press.

"We decided to go to the press in order to put pressure on the ball," Duncan said. "We have some fast guards and what we’re trying to do is play to our strengths."

Camden’s cause was not helped when forward Porsha Griffin was called for her third foul before the game was 2 ½ minutes old. Her being relegated to the bench made a short Lady Bulldog lineup even smaller.

"I don’t think that Porsha ever really got into the flow of the game. That really hurt us," Jeffcoat said.

Camden cut into the L-E lead thanks in part to a pair of second quarter 3-point jumpers from Sharneece Gary, which helped the Lady Bulldogs close the gap to 23-16 at halftime.

Both L-E points in the second eight minutes came from the foul line and were made by Aneka Dixon, who led all scorers with 11 points all of which came from the charity stripe. The Lady Demons used the free throw line to their advantage, knocking down 23 of their 28 attempts against their foul-prone guests.

Duncan said it was redemption for her team which put A.C. Flora on the line too many times in Tuesday’s season-opening loss.

"They owe me free throws because we gave (A.C. Flora) 32 free throws the other night," Duncan said. "We got beat because of that and I let them know it. They realize that free throws do win games."

Using a pair of Counts baskets, L-E stretched its lead to nine points on two occasions in the third quarter before Camden came alive. The Lady Bulldogs closed the third stanza with consecutive layups from junior guard Jazzmine Devlin in the final 45 seconds as the guests closed the gap to 31-27 heading into the fourth quarter.

Finally on track, CHS answered a pair of Dixon free throws which opened the fourth quarter with a jump hook from Quasha Jefferson and a steal and layin from Dree Dubose to close to within 33-31 with 5:30 left in the game.

Unfazed, L-E used four Dixon free throws to touch off a 9-2 run with included a traditional 3-point play from Samantha Jean and a Cady Murphy basket, coming off an inbounds pass, to give the Lady Demons a 42-33 lead with 2:15 left in the game.

CHS would use a 3-ball from Gary to cut the margin to four, at 43-39, with 25 seconds left only to see L-E hit five of its final six free throws to squash any hope of a late-game Lady Bulldog comeback.

The game plan for L-E, Duncan said, was to make Camden shoot over a packed-in zone. And defense, the Lady Demon boss said, will be the name of the game for her team this season.

“We have good defensive players and some girls who have long arms so we’re trying to stress ‘defense, defense, defense’ this year,” Duncan said. “We’re a hard-working team and we want everybody to have to work for what they get against us. We don’t want to give up anything for free.”

As for Camden, this game gave Jeffcoat a starting point on which to build.

“I thought we played hard and we definitely didn’t quit,” she said. “We definitely didn’t do a whole lot well tonight. We have to rebound better because they got a lot of second and third shots … and we didn’t handle their pressure well.”

CHS (39): Quasha Jefferson 4 2-3 10, Chelsea Reynolds 3 0-0 6, Jazzmine Devlin 4 0-0 8, Chloe Poole 0 0-2 0, Sharneece Gary 3 0-2 9, Porsha Griffin 1 0-0 2, Dree Dubose 2 0-0 4. Totals: 17 2-7 39

L-E (49):


Score by quarters:

First: L-E, 21-8; Halftime: L-E, 23-16; Third: L-E, 31-27; Three-point goals: CHS 3 (Gary 3); L-E: none
Aneka Dixon 0 11-12 11, Dorothy Fair 0 2-2 2, Cady Murphy 3 2-2 8, Samantha Jean 2 4-7 8, Dahiana Rodriguez 2 0-0 4, Nakeisha Counts 4 0-0 8, Alexis Williams 2 2-3 6, Ashley Banks 0 2-2 2. Totals: 13 23-28 49



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