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A very slow start for two very competitive girls basketball teams suddenly shifted in the third quarter after a team talk at halftime.

Chopticon 44, Great Mills 23

Great Mills 6 6 2 9Chopticon 7 9 14 14Great Mills: King 14, Mason 5, Fisher 2, Berry 1, Jacobs 1Chopticon: Gross 9, Priest 9, Boyden 8, Burns 6, Thompson 3, Belfield 3, Herbert 2, Pappas 2, Carty 1, Hirshman 1Free throws: Great Mills 6-19 (King 4-9, Jacobs 1-2); Chopticon 11-20 (Boyden 2-2, Gross 3-4, Burns 2-4) 3-point goals: Great Mills 1 (Mason); Chopticon 5 (Gross 2, Priest 2, Thompson)

Junior guards Taylor Burns and Lauren Hirshman said that their Chopticon girls basketball team initiated a very important talk during the halftime break. They weren’t exactly happy with the 16-12 halftime score.

The pep talk helped ignite a fire and the Braves (8-1 overall) outscored Great Mills 14-2 in the third quarter and again 14-9 in the final quarter to redeem itself in the 44-23 nonconference victory.

Last Friday, Great Mills (4-5) won the Southern Maryland Holiday Tournament on its home court with a 47-38 win over the Braves.

Hirshman is one of the top five scorers for the Braves.

“We had a serious team talk [at halftime],” Hirshman said. “Everybody just put in their own input and what they’re seeing from the bench and on the court and what we needed to do. It was all positive.”

Burns scored six points in the rematch and shifted the momentum just before halftime when her layup basket sent her to the free-throw line.

Teammate Tyaira Priest (9 points) sunk a three-point goal to put her team up 15-12 in the second quarter. Burns went to the line again and completed one of two attempts to give her team the four-point halftime lead.

“I felt really prepared; I thought our practice went really well yesterday,” Burns said. “I felt like we really came together as a team in the second half and focused more on how much we wanted it. We got back to how we were playing.”

Chopticon head coach Joe Cook said that everyone on his roster contributed to the win. Cook at times cleared the entire bench and changed things up as he saw he needed to.

“We’re trying to do this together,” Cook said. “As a group we’re trying to have everyone contribute at different times to go where we want to go. In the tournament, they really hit us hard from the wing, so we wanted to adjust and so we played a lot of the 3-2 [defense]. I was going to go to the 1-3-1, but the 3-2 seemed to work. They have some good shooters. They’re a very good team. Their tempo is a little bit slower and we worked on that the last couple days.”

Great Mills head coach Matthew Wood said the difference in this game was shot selection.

“The shots just weren’t falling, because of their defense,” Wood said. “They turned it up a little bit, or a lot actually. It seemed like they came out with more intensity. It seemed like they wanted it more.”

The loss ended the Hornets’ four-game winning streak after starting the season at 0-4. Wood is now concentrating on and preparing his team for another rematch, this time against a strong McDonough Rams team at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

“We went to overtime with them the first game,” Wood said of the 50-49 overtime loss to the Rams to start the season. “Defense is going to win that game.”

Chopticon has a busy weekend starting with a home game against Huntingtown at 6:30 tonight, then it will travel to St. Mary’s Ryken to play at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Great Mills boys win

On the boys side of things, Great Mills jumped out to a 19-1 lead at the end of the first quarter and held on for a 48-41 victory over the Braves.

Great Mills left-handed junior guard Melquan Williams let the team in points with 13, while junior guard Tyreek Murray finished with 11 points.

Junior forward Raymond McLeod topped off the double-digit scorers with 10 points for the Hornets, while junior forward Bernal Day led the team in rebounds with eight.

The Hornets (5-4) will return to action at 7 p.m. Wednesday on the road against McDonough. The Braves (0-8) are scheduled to play nonconference games at Huntingtown at 6:30 tonight and at Patuxent at 6:30 p.m. Monday.

tshowalter@somdnews.com