Chelsea girls pick up 20th win of season against Oak mountain

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

NORTH SHELBY – In what was a tight, physical game for the majority of the night ended with a 14-point win for the Chelsea Hornets against rival Oak Mountain thanks to a lopsided final quarter.

The Hornets were able to pick up their 20th win of the season by making eight of 11 free throws in the final quarter of the game to help the offense post 18 points, while the defense played typical Chelsea defense by giving up four points en route to a 48-34 win.

The two teams entered the final quarter knotted at 30 after consistent starts to the game. Chelsea scored 12 in the first quarter and then nine in each of the next two quarters, while the Eagles flipped that and scored nine in the first two quarters and then 12 in the third quarter to even the game.

Chelsea had a more balanced start in the first quarter with four scorers helping the Hornets post 12 points, including four each from Ashley Washington and Mackenzie Titus.

Oak Mountain’s start was more one sided, but Raegan Whitaker kept the Eagles in the game with six points, while teammate Abby Gordon knocked down a 3-pointer to help them post nine points and exit the opening quarter down by three.

The Eagles followed that with another nine-point quarter in the second period thanks to making five of eight from the free throw line, while Gordon and Whitaker each added one more field goal each.

They also turned up the pressure on the defensive end, holding Chelsea to single digits in the frame. It wasn’t enough to tie or take the lead at the break, however, as the Hornets matched the nine points thanks to five from Sydney Schwallie.

That helped Chelsea maintain a 21-18 lead at the break.

But Oak Mountain was hanging tough against one of the best defensive teams in the state, which gave the Eagles confidence to start the second half.

Julia Tucker was a big reason for that after she scored her first three points of the game in the second quarter.

Making three of her four free throws before the half, she found a rhythm and came out to post four points in the third quarter. That, along with another 3-pointer from Abby Gordon, three points from Charity Shaw and a field goal from Vica Hood helped the Eagles get the double-digit quarter they needed with 12 points.

That became crucial for Oak Mountain, as the defense also put together another strong quarter by allowing nine points to even the game at 30-30 going to the final quarter.

But after giving up double-digit points in the third quarter, Chelsea responded in the final period.

Not only did the Hornets’ offense put pressure on Chelsea with the 18 points they scored thanks to the eight free throws, but the defense took advantage.

They gave up just two field goals to Tucker in the period, as the Eagles struggled to find any space down the stretch for a clean look.

That helped Chelsea stave off a hard-fought battle from the Eagles for a 48-30 win.

Schwallie led the way for the Hornets with 11 points in the win, while Mackenzie Titus and Ellen Fleming both added nine points. A total of seven players scored for the Hornets.

Oak Mountain was led by 11 points from Tucker, while Whitaker and Gordon both added eight points.