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CHS girls’ rally comes up short in loss

Posted: February 8, 2016 4:06 p.m.
Updated: February 9, 2016 1:00 a.m.
Tom Didato/C-I photo/

CAMDEN GUARD JANAI CRIM gets bumped on her way to the basket by RNE’s Jabrie Drakes in Friday’s 57-47 loss.

So much for just playing out the string.

With their playoff hopes having been turned aside thanks to playing in the meat grinder which is Region 4-AAA, the Camden High girls’ basketball team showed they are hardly throwing in the towel in what has been another tough season.

Last Friday, the Lady Bulldogs used a 20-4 run in the second half to close to within 42-40 against visiting Richland Northeast. In the end, however, the scare may have served to wake up the Lady Cavaliers who left the Michael G. Culp Court with a 57-45 victory. That is not to mention with a sigh of relief.

The loss was the ninth in as many conference outings for Natalie Jeffcoat’s troops who proved they will play hard until the end, in spite of less-than-favorable odds.

“They really fought and fought hard,” Jeffcoat said of her team’s effort, especially closing out the third and starting the final quarter. “The ball finally started falling for us, a little bit, and they were turning the ball over for us. 

“I was really proud of our effort, though. We could have packed it in but we didn’t.”

The time which Jeffcoat was referring to was after RNE used a 16-2 third quarter run to extend what was a seven-point advantage into a 38-20 lead with less than a half-minute to play in the third quarter. Camden shortened the gap to 28-25 by getting an 18-foot jumper from senior guard Ariyan Massey and a buzzer-beating 3-ball from junior guard Janai Crim in the final 25 seconds of the third to make it a 38-25 game.

Massey and Crim would play central roles in the Camden comeback. Crim threw in 10 of her team-best 21 points in the final stanza while Massey scored six of her 13 points in the closing quarter.

It was a pair of seemingly innocent Massey free throws which touched off what would become a 10-0 Lady Bulldog run to open the fourth quarter. A Massey steal and layin was followed by Crim’s going on a 1-on-3 break and taking it to the basket for a layin would cut the margin to 38-31 with 7:21 left in the game.

Two Massey free throws and a five-foot runner from the paint area by Massey at the 6:15 marker closed the gap to 38-35.

RNE used a 3-point jumper from Dashia Jackson to get its lead back to five but Crim found the mark from long distance to match Jackson’s bucket as CHS was still hanging around and trailed, 42-40, with 4:28 to play.  

The Lady Bulldogs had the chance to tie or, take the lead but a steal and layin by RNE’s Bayleigh Ponds, who led all scorers with 25 points, put the guests on top, 44-40.

Ponds scored 10 first half points before tossing in 11 in the third quarter against a Camden defense which was designed to try and slow down the guard/forward.

“(Ponds) is a really good player for them,” Jeffcoat said of her halftime talk. “We talked about trying to help out more against her. They set a lot of screens for her and they try to bump her off the cuts. We wanted to make her work but she was still able to get her points.”

A five-foot jumper from CHS center Donyea Wilson, which made it a 46-43 game with 3:02 remaining, proved to be the Lady Bulldogs’ final salvo. 

Camden missed a golden opportunity to cut further into the lead but a Lady Bulldog was called for a technical foul after the Lady Cavs were whistled for a foul. Instead of getting the ball with 2:23 left, RNE’s Sharita Godfrey made a free throw. Twenty-three seconds later, Godfrey stuck a 12-foot jumper and the lead grew to 49-43.

RNE would go on to score 11 of the night’s final 13 points to finally put this one away in spite of a game effort by the hostesses. 

The Lady Cavs led, 11-6, after one quarter against a Camden team which struggled to get into any sort of rhythm on offense. Things got better for the Lady Bulldogs in the second quarter which opened with a trey from Crim to make it 12-9.

Trailing 20-13 with less than a minute left before intermission, Camden chopped the deficit down to 20-16 thanks to a Massey free throw followed by a pair from Kiaya Weathers.

Camden’s continued to trend upward with a Wilson putback making it a 22-18 RNE lead with 6:45 to go in the third. The Lady Cavs, though, would embark on a 16-2 run which was only interrupted by a Crim layup as the guests cushioned what became a 38-20 lead.

The Lady Bulldogs will close their season tonight with a trip to Chapin. Jeffcoat is hoping to get an effort similar to that of Friday only with a different result.

“We would like to be able to go out on a positive note,” she said. “We’ve only been able to play a few games with our full roster so hopefully, we can end the season on a good note.”

 

RNE (57): Bayleigh Ponds 10 0-0 25, Jabrie Drakes 1 3-6 5, Alexandria Brooks 0 2-2 2, Dashia Jackson 2 7-10 11, Cortazia Windley 0 1-2 1, Sharita Godfrey 4 1-2 9, Kayla Brown 1 0-0 2, Armani Wright 1 0-0 2. Totals: 19 14-22 57

CHS (45): Ariyan Massey 5 3-4 13, Janai Crim 7 4-6 21, Donyea Wilson 4 1-5 9, Kiaya Weathers 0 2-2 2. Totals: 16 10-17 45

Score by quarters: First: RNE, 11-6; Halftime: RNE, 20-16; Third: RNE, 38-25; Three-point goals: RNE 6 (Ponds 5, Jackson), CHS 3 (Crim 3)

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