Chelsea boys continue improvement, win 3rd in a row

Published 12:03 pm Friday, December 28, 2018

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

MOBILE – It was a slow start to the 2018-19 basketball season for the Chelsea Hornets, but over the last two weeks, it’s been a different story thanks to three consecutive wins, including a first-round win in the UMS-Wright tournament on Thursday, Dec. 27.

In the opening round of the tournament held in Mobile, Chelsea was able to bounce back from a slow start to take down Cottage Hill by a final score of 46-39 to improve to 6-9 overall this season after sitting at 3-9 just a couple of weeks ago.

Out of the gates, Chelsea didn’t seem ready to play following the Christmas holiday break.

With the Hornets’ post presence in Daniel Washington picking up two quick fouls in the first minute, Chelsea looked a little lost and fell behind 12-4 with all of the points coming at the free throw line thanks to hounding defense from Cottage Hill that sped the Hornets up and kept them from making a field goal.

That lasted all of one quarter, however, as Chelsea completely flipped the script in the second quarter and bounced back on both ends of the floor.

Matthew Lanzi went on to score seven of his team-high 12 points in the period, while the Hornets picked up the defensive effort limiting Cottage Hill to six points.

Chelsea’s change in demeanor led to them outscoring the Warriors 15-6 in the period to all of a sudden take the lead at 19-18 heading into the half.

The Hornets used that change in momentum to carry over confidence into the third quarter, specifically on the defensive end thanks to a strong man-to-man full-court press from Robert Marquet, which caused several turnovers.

Those turnovers led to fast break points and success offensively, including two dunks from Lanzi, while Washington was able to bounce back from his two early fouls to post eight points in the period.

With an impressive effort on both ends, Chelsea was able to extend its lead to 38-26 at the end of the third.

Cottage hill didn’t fold over and eventually battled back to trim the Hornets’ lead to just five points in the final quarter, but that’s as close as the Warriors were able to get as Chelsea closed things out in the final minute for the 46-39 victory.

Aside from Lanzi’s team-high 12 points and seven rebounds, Washington added 10 points and an additional seven rebounds. Jacob Tierney also contributed heavily with eight points of his own.