- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
In a girls basketball game that had 10 three-point goals between the two teams, it was a matter of which squad could connect in the final seconds to prevail as the winner.
Great Mills hosted Chopticon on Friday evening, the third time the two teams have faced one another this season.
Great Mills defeated Chopticon, 47-38, in the championship game of the Southern Maryland Holiday tournament Dec. 28, but the Braves started the new year right with a 44-23 win over the Hornets in a nonconference match-up Jan. 2.
On Friday night, Chopticon took home the all-important conference win, 44-41.
Chopticon (15-3, 7-1 after 47-35 win over Patuxent on Monday) led 17-12 at halftime, only giving up six points per quarter in the first half.
The Braves extended the lead to 30-23 after three quarters, and while the Hornets made a charge in the fourth, it wasn’t enough.
“Our game plan coming in was we wanted to run,” Chopticon head coach Joe Cook said. “We knew they were a good three-point shooting team, so we wanted to get out and go, which it kind of didn’t work. They pressured us well, and their zone really hurts us. We tried there at the end to get the ball to Erica [Boyden], but their defense was tough.”
Chopticon junior guard Shyanne Gross put the Braves up 40-37 with just 1 minute and 16 seconds remaining in regulation.
Braves guard Tyaira Priest stole the ball with just 30 seconds remaining, drove to the basket and drew a foul but was unable to connect on her free throws. Chopticon was 6 of 20 (30 percent) from the free-throw line in the contest.
Great Mills turned the ball back over the Braves on a five-second violation, which proved to be costly.
Priest once again had the ball and passed inside to Boyden, Chopticon’s center, who put the visitors up 42-37. Boyden was the Braves’ high scorer with 14 points.
Great Mills junior Dione Jacobs (9 points) followed Boyden’s shot with a jumper to bring the Hornets within 42-39.
Great Mills senior Kendra Bowman, a force in the middle for the hosts, fouled out with 14 seconds remaining. Junior guard Kala Herbert went to the free-throw line for the Braves and completed two of two, putting Chopticon up 44-39.
Hornets head coach Matthew Wood spoke to his team during the last time-out with Herbert about to go to the free-throw line.
“Well, if they missed, we wanted to set up for a three, and if they made it, we wanted to take it inside and set up our defense again, which seemed to be pretty good tonight.” Wood said. “We had some miscommunication there at the end. Communication is part of basketball. It’s tough.”
Jacobs made one last basket for the Hornets as time ran down, but the Braves held on for the win.
“We had a lot of pressure, but we knew it was coming since we’re on their home court again,” said Gross, who displayed quiet confidence throughout the match-up and finished with 11 points. “We knew they were going to play hard at home, but we just came out ready to play. At the end, we knew we had three fouls left, so we could’ve fouled, but we wanted to make sure they didn’t shoot any threes and make sure they didn’t catch up. We’re trying to win all the rest of our games. I think we need to work more as a team. We’re having a blast this year. I know I am.”
Great Mills top scorer was Tyniece Woodland with a game-high 17 points. Woodland was left open on three occasions, and she made the most of it, cashing in for three of the team’s five three-point goals.
Chopticon matched it with five of its own, with Priest connecting on two.
Great Mills (7-9, 3-4 after a 75-40 loss to Northern on Monday) plays at Westlake at 6:30 tonight, while Chopticon is off until Friday where it will host Northern at 6:30 p.m.