Chelsea seniors highlight win on senior night

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

CHELSEA – Thanks to a strong first half and contributions from several seniors, the Chelsea Hornets were able to pick up a 43-32 senior-night victory over county rival Oak Mountain on Tuesday, Jan. 28.

The Hornets scored 14 points in both the first and second quarters to take a 28-11 lead into the half and never looked back en route to the win.

But the night was about the seniors as four of the five seniors on this year’s Chelsea team scored in the game, while all five contributed in some form or fashion.

Jordan Parker led the way for the Hornets with a game-high 12 points, while fellow senior Pressley Rains added seven points. In addition to those two, Suzanne Ridgway and Emily Lamberson also got points in their final regular-season home game.

The two most thrilling baskets of the game came from Lamberson and Ridgway when their points were put on the board. Lamberson took care of hers in the opening quarter, while Ridgway made it a little more thrilling.

A major contributor in many facets of the game for the Hornets, Ridgway had poured a lot into the game, but with less than three minutes to play in the game, she still hadn’t scored.

That changed when she took a hard drive down the lane, and while being fouled threw up a running floater from close to behind the backboard that found the bottom of the net. The bench and the crowd cheered loudly after the senior posted her two points.

In addition to the seniors, Chelsea also got seven points from Sydney Schwallie in the victory.

The balanced night started in the opening quarter when the Hornets were able to post 14 points behind five different scorers, while they limited the Eagles to just four points.

Parker and Fleming each hit a 3-pointer in the quarter, while Parker posted five of her 12 points. In addition to that, Mackenzie Titus, Schwallie and Lamberson hit jumpers to help give the Hornets an early 10-point advantage.

In the second quarter, Chelsea built off of that momentum to start the game and put up another 14-point quarter, as Parker continued her strong start with six more points.

The Hornets also saw consistency on the defensive end, never giving Oak Mountain a clean look, which limited the Eagles to seven points in the quarter. That allowed Chelsea to extend its lead to 17 points at the half.

Coming out of the break, however, the Eagles found a way to turn the momentum slightly in their favor.

Chelsea’s offensive consistency was cut in half, scoring just seven points after back-to-back 14-point quarters in the first half.

While Oak Mountain had stepped up on the defensive end, the offense was still struggling to gain momentum. The Eagles got three field goals and two free throws for nine points in the quarter, but that only cut the deficit to 15 points at 35-20 heading to the final quarter.

Early in the fourth, however, the Eagles continued to try and claw back after starting the quarter on a 4-0 run that brought them to within 11 points.

But after that, both teams went quiet until the 3:42 mark of the period. That’s when Chelsea scored its first basket of the quarter, which seemed to briefly lift the lid off the basket.

Oak Mountain hit a 3-pointer to get within 10 points, but a 3-pointer and then Ridgway’s basket sparked a 5-0 run for the Hornets, and the Eagles got no closer the rest of the way.

Abi Gordon led the Eagles with 11 points, while Abi Brown added seven.