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CHS girls show grit in 42-39 loss to LHS

Posted: January 18, 2012 3:23 p.m.
Updated: January 20, 2012 5:00 a.m.

Short in height, but long on heart.
There are a lot worse things that a team can be.
Having lost starting center Chelsea Reynolds for the season, due to a knee injury, the Camden High girls’ basketball team lost their only true post player last week. And when the Lady Bulldogs were down 17 points midway through the third quarter to a taller Lakewood team on the Mike Culp Court on Tuesday, it looked as if the end result might be predictable.
But a funny thing happened on the way to a blowout victory for the visiting Lady Gators. Camden dug deep and climbed out of its hole to draw within two points of Lakewood in the closing 98 seconds of play in what would end up being a 42-39 loss for the hostesses.
The comeback and the effort to close the gap to a one-possession game left CHS head coach Natalie Jeffcoat in admiration of her undersized team.
“Great, great effort,” Jeffcoat said, while managing a smile after her team fell to 1-3 in Region 6-AAA play. “I’m real proud of the girls. There were a couple opportunities where we could have cashed it in, but we didn’t. We fought back. I’m extremely proud of that effort.”
After having to play catch-up, since trailing 10-2 in the game’s first four minutes, Camden was looking up at a 38-21 deficit after LHS went on a 6-0 run midway in the third stanza. The third of the three baskets, coming at the 4:18 mark of the third quarter would be final two points which the guests would score from the field for the rest of the night.
A Quasha Jefferson putback with 3:58 left in the third would touch off a 7-0 CHS spree to close the stanza. A trey from Sharneece Gary and a Porsha Griffin stickback ended the scoring. The Lady Bulldogs could have drawn closer before the horn sounded, but missed a pair of free throws as the Lady Gators carried a 39-28 advantage into the final eight minutes.
Griffin picked up where she left off in the third by scoring the first eight points of the fourth quarter which drew CHS to within 39-36 with less than four minutes to play. The senior forward scored on an end-to-end drive followed by a stickback, a layin after collecting a loose ball under the basket and then a scoop layin to trim the deficit to three with 3:35 left in the game.
Griffin scored 10 of her team-best 11 points after the break, which came as no surprise to her coach. “She said coming back out after halftime, ‘Coach, I’m going to have a better second half.’ And she did.”
A pair of LHS free throws in a span of a little more than a minute pushed the lead to 41-36 with 1:56 remaining. Gary then bottomed out her third trey of the night at the 1:38 marker to make it 41-39. Trailing, 42-39 after a Richardson Morgan foul shot, Jeffcoat called a time out with 33.7 seconds left when it looked as if her offense was getting out of sorts.
Camden would get the ball to Gary, after the break in the action, and her bomb rattled off the rim. Later, Jeffcoat said calling the time out was a necessary evil, in this instance.
“We had gotten a little bit antsy,” she said. “We’re a little better in transition. I didn’t want to have to call that time out, but we were trapped in the corner and I didn’t want us to throw it away. But Sharneece got a good look at it.”
Camden had to play catch-up from the opening tip in a game in which it never held the lead as LHS led, 10-2 and 19-8 in a first quarter which ended with the visitors holding a 19-11 edge after Gary hit a 3-ball in the final 35 seconds.
Lakewood would go on a 5-0 run late in the first half to carry a seemingly comfortable 32-18 lead into the intermission. The Lady Gators would then tack on three more points to its cushion before the Lady Bulldogs started chipping away at the lead as the CHS crowd got involved in the game as the rally started.
“Sometimes, we have a hard time putting the ball in the basket. When you can get a couple scores, you can feel the energy in the entire gym pick up,” Jeffcoat said. “If we were looking at an eight-point deficit instead of a 16 …”
In a season in which CHS has not played in many nail-biters, Jeffcoat hopes being in a game like this will pay off before the end of the season.
“This is good for us because we haven’t been in many games like this,” she said. “Hopefully, we can take this experience and know what it feels like so that next time, we’ll be able to finish the job.
 “These kids play hard … they try hard, they really do. I can’t fault the effort; I’m disappointed for them.”
LHS (42): Sanora Dengkoi 5 6-11 16, Aimee Smith 5 3-7 13, Richardson Morgan 1 1-2 3, Shalexia Pack 0 2-4 2, Muriel Evans 1 1-2 3, Alison McKenzie 1 0-0 2, Chelsea Moses 1 1-2 3. Totals: 14 14-28 42
CHS (39): Quasha Jefferson 4 1-3 9, Porsha Griffin 5 1-5 11, Dree Dubose 1 0-1 2, Brook Dixon 2 0-0 4, Sharneece Gary 3 0-0 9, Audria Brooks 2 0-0 4. Totals: 17 2-8 39
Score by quarters: First: LHS, 19-11; Halftime: LHS, 32-18; Third: LHS, 39-28; Three-point goals: LHS none; CHS 3 (Gary 3)

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