Gwynn Park High School's Chantelle Gross doesn't see herself as a 3-point shooter, and on one occasion during Friday's girls' basketball game against Crossland, she didn't look like one either.
“Oh man,” Gross said of her third-quarter air ball. “I kind of rushed that one.”
But that air ball didn't faze the sophomore. She kept on shooting, scoring 10 points in the third quarter alone and 18 on the game as Gwynn Park (14-2, 12-1) defeated Crossland 76-62 Friday in Brandywine.
“My coaches, they don't ever tell me to stop shooting. If it's a bad shot, you just go next possession and pass the ball around,” said Gross, who hit three 3-pointers. “And that's the one thing I really [like] about my coach. He'll never to tell us to stop shooting.”
It was a season-high for Gross, who averages 9.8 points per game.
“We've been waiting for that. We've really been waiting,” Gwynn Park coach Michael Strother said. “It's in her. She can do anything with a basketball. She really stepped it up today when we needed her to, hopefully she can continue that throughout the rest of the year.”
Gross had four steals to go along with three assists and two rebounds.
“Very quick hands, quick feet, she can score, she can defend. She's a complete ball player. And you got to understand, she's only a sophomore,” Strother said. “... Today was really her best as a high school player but we expect that from her every game. We always have. She's been a little bit gun-shy sometimes but today she was letting it fly.”
Gwynn Park hit nine 3-pointers on the game, including three from Armoni Mooney (10 points) and two from Takayla Ellis.
“I don't know. We were just all on fire. We were all excited, hyped,” said Ellis, who scored 17 points.
Tashina Cardwell scored 12 points and registered four of the team's 15 steals.
Gwynn Park jumped out to a 26-10 lead using a balanced offense that featured seven different first-half scorers. Crossland (11-5, 10-3) cut the deficit to five thanks to an 11-0 run, which was capped off by Alexis Welch's old-fashioned three-point play.
But the end of the first half belonged to the Yellow Jackets. Gwynn Park closed the second quarter on a 9-2 run that culminated with a buzzer-beater from Ellis and went into halftime ahead 35-23.
The Cavaliers had several comeback bids in the second half, but every time they got within striking distance, the Yellow Jackets responded.
Crossland made one final late-game push and trimmed the deficit to 15 but Gwynn Park's Ashanti Freeland scored six consecutive points to put the game away and snap the Cavaliers' six-game win streak.
Gwynn Park defeated Crossland 57-53 in the first meeting, playing without an injured Ellis.
Welch and Uniqek Miller scored 16 points while Jewel Ledbetter added 13 for Crossland. The Cavaliers finished 13-of-23 from the foul line after going 9-for-32 in the previous meeting with Gwynn Park.
“Crossland is a tough team. We knew we had to keep the lead up,” Ellis said. “... We just came out harder. We played harder than last time and we played together as a team.”
Gwynn Park 76, Crossland 62
Crossland (11-5, 10-3) 8 15 16 23 — 62
Gwynn Park (14-2, 12-1) 17 18 22 19 — 76
Crossland: Uniqek Miller 16, Alexis Welch 16, Jewel Ledbetter 13, Janee Harris 8, Treasure Doberson 5, Jada Bolden 4.
Gwynn Park: Chantelle Gross 18, Takayla Ellis 17, Tashina Cardwell 12, Ashanti Freeland 10, Armoni Mooney 10, Tyler Gibbs 4, Ashleigh Seegars 4.