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CHS girls open stretch drive with key win over HHS

Posted: January 28, 2012 12:24 p.m.
Updated: January 30, 2012 5:00 a.m.

CAMDEN’S SHARNEECE GARY GAINS control of an inbounds pass which she would turn into a 3-point basket in second half of the Lady Bulldogs’ win over visiting Hartsville on the Mike Culp Court on Friday night.

On the second anniversary of the passing of longtime Camden girls’ basketball coach Mike Culp, the current edition of the Lady Bulldogs put together a game, and a finish, of which The Dean would have been proud.
And they did it on the court named in his honor against one of Culp’s longtime rivals, no less.
With her team nursing a 46-41 lead in the final minute of what turned out to be a 48-41 win over Hartsville Friday night, CHS head coach and Natalie Jeffcoat --- a former standout for Culp --- watched as her girls spread the floor, played keep-away with the ball while melting the clock. That move was a Culp staple in his 30-plus years on the sidelines for the then-Rockettes.
For Camden, the win gave the hostesses an 8-7 overall record while improving to 2-5 in Region 6-AAA play with three games remaining in the conference and regular season.
Jeffcoat, whose team opened the season by rattling off three straight victories, said now is the time to one-up that early December win streak and make a return to the AAA state playoffs by finishing in the top four in league play.
“We have to put together a winning streak,” she said of making a playoff run. “We had four games left (before Friday) and this was the first one so, we’re one-for-one.”
Getting that first win in the chain was hardly an easy task as CHS jumped to a quick 10-3 lead, only to see the Lady Red Foxes take the lead on five different occasions. The last time the visitors held the advantage on the scoreboard came when Brittany Wheeler rolled in a layup for a 35-34 lead in the opening half minute of the fourth quarter.
Like it had done each other time it lost the lead, Camden regained the advantage. This time, Dree Dubose came up with a steal and went in for a layin to give the Lady Bulldogs the lead for keeps at 36-35 with seven minutes left in the game. Porsha Griffin went inside for two of her 12 points on the night to extend the lead to three points. Camden would go up by four, at 40-36, when point guard Jazzmine Devlin beat the HHS defense down the floor for a layin after having come up with a steal with just under six minutes remaining to be played.
It was with 6:41 left that Griffin, a forward who stepped into playing in the post for injured center Chelsea Reynolds, fouled out. That left an already undersized CHS squad to become even shorter and Jeffcoat holding her breath.
“Being without Chelsea, Porsha has really stepped up for us and has played well. That hurt,” she said of Griffin’s fouling out early in the fourth quarter. “But Nicki Lee went in there and maybe didn’t get (any) baskets, but she battled inside. Nicki got some rebounds and was a defensive presence for us. I’m real proud of her.”
Hartsville would make three more runs at Camden as the guests cut the lead to 40-39 with 4:21 left before a Quasha Jefferson free throw at the 3:14 mark put Camden up three at 41-39. HHS used a pair of Asia Pooler free throws even things at 41 with 2:42 showing on the game clock. Jefferson, though, would respond by finding an opening in the Lady Red Fox defense to go in for a layin and a 43-40 lead with 2:30 left.
HHS, which missed 17 of its 32 free throws, would score its final point of the game from the foul line with 2:10 left. A pair of Devlin free throws with 2:01 to play all but iced this game for the hostesses as CHS came up with a rebound of a Hartsville miss with 1:45 remaining and proceeded to drain the clock while, defensively, holding the guests without a basket from the field for the final 4:31 of the game.
Once CHS went to the delay game, Devlin was able to use her quickness to help take precious seconds off the game clock. The point guard had a nine-point evening but, more importantly, was able to get the CHS offense in gear while creating havoc on the defensive end of the floor, as well.
“Jazzmine really played with confidence tonight,” Jeffcoat said. “I really feel like, off the dribble, that she can take almost anybody in our league. She did that tonight.”
Thanks in part to Devlin, CHS was able to shred the HHS press in the early going as a pair of baskets from Griffin and Jefferson helped Camden to an 8-1 lead. Devlin then went in for a scoop layin and with 2:50 left in the first, the Lady Bulldogs had jumped to a 10-3 advantage. HHS would regroup in the second quarter, using an 8-2 run to take a 15-14 lead with 2:23 left in the half.
Receiving a pair of 3-point jumpers from Sharneece Gary, the Lady Bulldogs regained the advantage at 20-17 in a first 16 minutes which ended with the hostesses carrying a 21-18 lead into the locker room.
The CHS lead went to five, at 29-24, when Chloe Poole took an inbounds pass and stuck a 10-footer before Gary took another inbounds pass and dropped home a 3-ball with 4:43 left in the third. HHS came back with a 6-0 run to take a one-point edge with 2:27 remaining in a third quarter which saw CHS struggle with the Lady Red Fox press and at the free throw line as the home team missed the mark on six of their nine attempts from the foul line.
“I think that, sometimes, we press a little bit and we get away from doing what we were doing successfully earlier in the game,” Jeffcoat said of the HHS press bothering her team in the second half.
“But we were able to get back to what we were doing earlier in the game. Tonight, we were able to settle ourselves and not let things spiral like it has done to us sometimes.”
Camden had four players score nine or more points in a balanced offensive attack led by a dozen each from Griffin and Gary. Jefferson and Devlin would add nine points each on a night in which the Lady Bulldogs needed a victory to keep their playoff hopes alive.
“We needed it in the worst way. Our kids wanted this in the worst way,” Jeffcoat said with a smile. “We were coming off two really bad, disappointing losses. I’m really proud of these kids for putting together the kind of effort that they did tonight.”

HHS (42): Courtney Kelley 2 2-6 6, Kelah Brown 2 0-0 4, Dennyetta Rogers 1 2-4 4, Shakaile Johnson 1 3-5 5, Brittany Wheeler 3 1-5 7, Mary Godfrey 0 0-2 0, Monica Gray 1 2-2 4, Asia Pooler 2 3-7 7, Kelah Brown 1 0-0 2, Shannon Ashe 1 0-2 2. Totals: 14 15-32 41
CHS (48): Porsha Griffin 5 2-3 12, Quasha Jefferson 4 1-4 9, Jazzmine Devlin 3 3-5 9, Sharneece Gary 3 3-6 12, Chloe Poole 1 0-0 2, Audria Brooks 0 1-2 1, Dree Dubose 1 1-2 3. Totals: 17 11-22 48
Score by quarters: First: CHS, 10-7; Halftime: CHS, 21-18; Third: 31-31; Three-point goals: HHS none; CHS 3 (Gary 3)


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