Defense lifts Lady Warriors over Chelsea

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

ALABASTER – The Thompson defense hounded Chelsea all night during the matchup between the two girls’ teams on Thursday, Dec. 15, at Thompson High School. Not only did they shut down Chelsea to four single-digit quarters, but they also held Hornets standout Michaella Edwards to her lowest point total of the season as the Warriors went on to win by a final of 59-26.

In the first quarter Thompson (7-4) came out strong and made their presence known early in the game outscoring Chelsea 20-8 in the frame. By far their most explosive offense of the night and the way the defense played the rest of the game, that 20 points would’ve almost been enough to win the game.

The Lady Hornets (7-5), who didn’t score more than eight points in a quarter during the game, were held to just eight second quarter points as well. The Warriors offense wasn’t as explosive only scoring 11 points, but they had still expanded their lead to a whopping 15-point 31-16 lead at halftime.

Things continued to get worse for Chelsea on the offensive end in the second half as their point total declined in both the third and fourth quarters. Thompson head coach JoVanka Ward had to be pleased with her team’s first half performance and her girls came out in the second half to impress her even more.

The Lady Warriors weren’t lulled to sleep with their big lead, but instead kept their feet on the gas pedal as they came out and outscored the Hornets 15-6 in the third quarter. All of a sudden they had more than doubled up Chelsea with a 46-22 lead as they headed to the fourth.

Even with several reserves playing, as Thompson tried to rest several in preparation for a game the following day with No. 4 ranked Spain Park, the Lady Warriors looked just as strong in the fourth as they had the rest of the game. The defense had its best quarter of the game limiting Chelsea to just four points, while outscoring them 13-4. The Warriors had ended the game on a 28-10 run en route to a lopsided 59-26 win.

On the defensive end they held the county’s leading scorer in Edwards to just 11 points on 12 percent shooting from the field (2-17). Edwards also saw her double-double streak end as she only posted six rebounds. She was the only double-digit scorer for Chelsea who only had five girls score in all.

The Lady Warriors also forced 39 turnovers on the defensive end leading to easy baskets, which has been Chelsea’s Achilles heel all year.

Offensively, Thompson was led by sophomore point guard Niya Oden with a game-high 19 points. Brittany Grice added a second double-digit scorer for the Warriors with her 16 points. Kahyanne Bolton and Diamond Gilliland added nine and seven points, respectively.