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Dreher’s arsenal to much for Lady Dogs

Posted: February 1, 2014 1:28 p.m.
Updated: February 3, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Seeing as how Dreher starts three players who check in at better than 6-feet tall, it puts the onus on the Lady Blue Devils’ opponents to make the best of their looks at the basket. In all likelihood, the first shot may well be the only one each trip down the floor.
Camden figured out a way to combat Dreher’s decided height advantage. The Lady Bulldogs went with trying to attack from the perimeter, a strategy which worked as the hostesses were knotted at 14 following the first quarter of Friday’s game against their fifth-ranked opponent.
But Dreher’s combination of height, athleticism and Division I talent wore down CHS as the Lady Blue Devils left Michael G. Culp Court with a 70-47 win.
The setback dropped Natalie Jeffcoat’s squad to 3-5 in Region 4-AAA play while Dreher improved to 6-1 in league action.
Having no choice but to get its points from outside the lane, Camden used a trio of 3-point jumpers from Sharneece Gary, whose 15 points on five baskets from distance led the Lady Bulldogs, another trey from Kentrell Salmond and a 10-foot runner from freshman Janai Crim to account for all 14 first quarter points.
Dreher, meanwhile, used four free throws and five baskets from within the paint area to combat Camden’s long distance barrage in what was an even and entertaining first eight minutes. But things changed in the second stanza as Camden’s shots stopped falling, the turnovers kept coming and trying to keep pace with the Lady Blue Devils resulted in the visitors’ taking control of things at the break, 35-18.
Having gone toe-to-toe with Dreher in the first quarter, Camden found itself in familiar, but unsettling territory in the second stanza.
“It seems like every game, we have a stretch where we can’t put the ball in the basket,” Jeffcoat said of her team’s four-point second quarter. “We just turned the ball over too much.
“The first quarter was exactly what we wanted. That’s the way we wanted to make it the whole game.”
Dreher’s second quarter surge was triggered by Jalen Murray, a 6-foot-1 freshman who had 11 of her game-high 18 points in the second eight minutes of play after having scored four points in the first quarter. Murray was one of four Lady Blue Devils who found their way into double figures. Jhileiya Dunlap, a 6-foot-2 sophomore, had 16 points. Next up was senior forward Ashira Sims who used a trio of treys to help her to 13 points while junior point guard Daija Parks added 10 points.
Ironically, Dreher’s two Division I signees Kaydra Duckett (South Carolina) and 6-foot-3 center Makayla Johnson (Clemson) finished with nine and four points, respectively.
Much of Camden’s problem on this night was, given Dreher’s size and length, second-chance baskets were going to be few and far-spaced.
“We knew it would have to be a ‘lights out’ kind of a night for us,” Jeffcoat said of the pressure to make good on her team’s first try at the basket.
“I thought we were kind of loose coming in. Some nights, the ball just doesn’t want to fall for you. I thought we missed a lot of shots which we usually do make. That happens sometimes, though.”
Camden, which lost to Dreher 81-32 in their first meeting in Columbia, trailed 42-22 after a Gary trey with 2:30 left in the third. Sims then drilled a pair of 3-point jumpers as DHS went up, 48-22. The Lady Bulldogs would get a stickback from Salmond and an accompanying free throw on the play to cut the lead to 48-25 in a third quarter which closed with Dreher  holding a commanding 50-27 advantage.
Dreher pressed CHS throughout the game and used the pressure game to open the fourth quarter with a 7-0 run, getting a pair of baskets off turnovers. The Lady Bulldogs would finish strong, though.
Trailing 67-33 with a little more than three minutes to play, Camden solved the Dreher press and used a Gary 3-ball to kick off a 14-3 closing run. The spree included two baskets each from Quasha Jefferson and Nikki Lee. Camden’s (and the game’s) final basket of the night, coming from Crim with 29 ticks left in the game clock, elicited a time out from Dreher which was unable to add more points to its 70-47 lead in the closing seconds of play.
Jeffcoat said she was encouraged by her team’s determination throughout the night. With the Lady Bulldogs still in the mix for a state playoff berth, Jeffcoat said she hopes her team will pick up where they left off in the closing minutes on Friday in games at Westwood and River Bluff this week.
“We were still battling at the end. We didn’t just fold up and quit,” she said. “If we can take the first and last chunks of this game and sustain it for four quarters … we just have to play with that kind of consistency.”

DHS (70): Jalen Murray 7 4-6 18, Kaydra Duckett 3 3-4 9, Makayla Johnson 2 0-0 4, Ashira Sims 4 2-2 13, Jhileiya Dunlap 6 2-5 16, Daija Parks 4 2-2 10, Shaniqwa Hopkins 0 0-2 0 Totals: 26 13-21 70
CHS (47): Sharneece Gary 5 0-0 15, Kentrell Salmond 2 0-0 5, Janai Crim 3 0-0 6, Quasha Jefferson 2 0-2 4, Dayajoi Belton 1 0-0 2, Treana Perry 0 2-4 2, Audria Brooks 1 1-1 3, Brooke Dixon 1 4-5 6, Nikki Lee 2 0-0 4 Totals: 17 7-12 47
Score by quarters: First: Tied, 14-14; Halftime: DHS, 35-18; Third: DHS, 50-27; Three-point goals: DHS 3 (Sims 3), CHS 6 (Gary 5, Salmond)

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