Chelsea boys heating up
Published 11:18 am Friday, January 29, 2016
By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor
After struggling for most of the season to find any sort of rhythm on offense, the Hornets from Chelsea seemed to have found their groove in just the knick of time.
Chelsea fell to Briarwood on Jan. 16 by 20 points, at which point the Hornets sported a lackluster 5-16 record. The victims of a number of close losses, Chelsea seemed to simply not be able to figure out how to win close games consistently.
Then, the Hornets traveled to face one of the best teams in the county and one of the top teams in 4A across the state in Montevallo on Jan. 19. The Bulldogs, which have had a stellar regular season campaign, were celebrating senior night against Chelsea for the second season in a row. While last year Montevallo was able to rally from an early 13-point deficit and beat the Hornets on senior night, this night and this game turned out differently. Behind a balanced scoring attack from Matt Marquet, Aaron Washington and Joseph Lanzi, Chelsea took down Montevallo by a razor-thin, 70-68 margin.
The tight win against a good Montevallo team was exactly what this Chelsea team seemed to need, a good shot in the arm of confidence. After beating the Bulldogs, three days later Chelsea beat area foe Pell City for the second time this year to finish the regular season 2-2 in 6A Area 10.
Then, after a six-day layoff, the Hornets traveled to take on Gardendale in a non-area matchup. The Hornets led from wire-to-wire as Washington hit five threes and poured in 20 points to lead Chelsea to a 55-44 win, giving the Hornets their longest win-streak of the season in the process.
Chelsea, now 8-16 as of Jan. 29 and riding a three-game win streak, will open area tournament play against Pell City on Tuesday, Feb. 9 at Oxford. The Hornets are also the defending 6A Area 10 tournament champions and advanced to the 6A Sweet Sixteen a season ago.