Eagles edge Hornets in undefeated matchup

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

NORTH SHELBY – A matchup of undefeated girls’ basketball teams took place Tuesday night, Nov. 29, at Oak Mountain High School as the Lady Eagles (4-0) hosted the Chelsea Hornets (5-1). Oak Mountain ended up running away down the stretch and picked up a nine point 56-47 win, which gave the Lady Hornets their first loss of the season.

“I’m very happy we were able to come out with a victory tonight because Chelsea has a very good team this year,” said Oak Mountain head coach Allen McGowan with a grin.

Both teams came out in the first quarter on a mission to score points. Jacoby Sims of Oak Mountain dropped three three pointers and had nine of her team-high 15 points in the first quarter alone. Chelsea, who has been led by sophomore Michaella Edwards, came out with a more balanced attack with five players scoring in the quarter and three players scoring four or more points. When the first quarter came to an end, each team had posted 17 points.

The offense slowed down tremendously for Chelsea in the second quarter as they were only able to manage one made basket from Michaella Edwards and four free throws. While the Hornets only posted six points, Oak Mountain picked up right where they left off. The Eagles had five different players score in the quarter on their way to 14 more points and took a 31-23 lead into the half.

The third quarter went almost identical to the second as Chelsea only had two girls contribute points on just three made field goals. Oak Mountain on the other hand was led by Hannah Edwards, who posted eight of her 10 points in the quarter. The Eagles posted 16 more third quarter points and led 47-29 heading to the fourth.

The Hornets came out in the fourth and started on a 5-1 run to try and make things interesting. Oak Mountain tried to let them back into the game by turning the ball over and missing several open shots, which forced a timeout by the Eagles.

Coming out of the timeout, McGowan drew up an inbounds play that worked to perfection as several screens set up an open three for Jacoby Sims, which found the bottom of the net. The Eagles were up 51-34 with 3:00 left to play and it looked like they had this one in the bag. Just when you thought that, Chelsea reeled off a 9-2 run in less than two minutes to make it a 10-point game.

This forced McGowan to take another timeout so he could draw up another designed play to get his girls some momentum back. It worked perfectly again and the Eagles went back up by 12 with less than a minute left to end the Hornets chances.

“They were coming back so we needed something to change it up a little bit,” McGowan said. “We were having a hard time scoring so we usually call something up in the huddle that we hope will get the girls in the right position to score and it happened to work out tonight.”

Chelsea had the highest point total by either team in the fourth quarter putting up 18 points, but the combined 12 points between the second and third quarter was just too much to overcome.

Sims led Oak Mountain with 15 points and four steals in the game. Cassady Greenwood also scored in double digits with 10 points and led the Eagles with eight rebounds. Kennedy Smith added eight more points and had a game-high 11 assists.

Edwards led Chelsea with 21 points and 12 rebounds, which gave her a fourth consecutive double double and continues to average a double double on the season. She was the Hornets only double digit scorer, but Hope Richard added 11 more rebounds and also had four steals.