Chelsea improves to 19-5 with win over Calera

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

CHELSEA – The Chelsea Hornets were able to bounce back from their first area loss of the 2019-20 basketball season with a dominant victory against the Calera Eagles on Tuesday, Jan. 21.

Chelsea used a fast start and overriding defense throughout the night to pull off a 51-39 win over the visiting Eagles, as the Hornets improved to 19-5 overall and 4-1 in area play. 

Chelsea got off to a strong start in the opening quarter behind strong play from Jordan Parker and Mackenzie Titus, who combined for eight of the Hornets 10 points in the period.

But it was the defensive effort that set the Hornets apart. Chelsea forced Calera into some bad decisions, which led to easy opportunities on offense, while limiting the Eagles to just four points in the frame, which gave the Hornets a six-point advantage at the half.

That effort continued early in the second quarter with Chelsea starting the period on an 11-1 run to extend the lead to 21-5. Shortly after, however, the Hornets missed seven consecutive free throws, which allowed Calera to hang around.

The Eagles put together a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to nine points, but Chelsea had a big response in the form of Sophia Brown. She not only ended the free throw drought for the Hornets by draining four consecutive shots from the line, but she also hit a 3-pointer as time expired in the half to put Chelsea in front 28-12 at the break.

Coming out of the break, Chelsea carried its momentum over thanks to a quick 10-0 run that featured six points in the first three minutes of the third quarter, followed by a deep 3-pointer from Pressley Rains shortly after.

After that, however, the Eagles found a response in the form of a 5-0 run to end the quarter.

While Calera still faced a 40-17 deficit, the Eagles carried that run into the fourth, eventually extending it to a 9-1 run that made the score 40-21 early in the final period.

But that was the final push the Eagles were able to make.

Chelsea eventually went up by 14 points when Mary Henley Carney hit a 3-pointer, before the Hornets then put in their bench players to close out the final three minutes of the game.

In the final two minutes, Calera made some late deep threes as the Hornets were content running the clock, which led to the Eagles trimming down the final score to 12 points.

Parker led Chelsea with 10 points, while Brown added nine and Titus eight.

The Hornets are now a win away on Friday, Jan. 24, against the Helena Huskies from locking up hosting rights for the area tournament.