Chelsea’s jam-packed championship

Published 10:43 am Wednesday, November 23, 2022

By LAUREN SEXTON | Sports Reporter

MOUNTAIN BROOK – Chelsea’s girls basketball team commanded the court at Mountain Brook’s annual Turkey Jam Tournament.

The Chelsea Hornets have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving with head coach Jason Harlow winning his 100th game ahead of the championship game and the Hornets defeating the reigning champs, Mountain Brook in the Tuesday night championship.

The Hornets reeled off three consecutive wins against Susan Moore, Guntersville and Mountain Brook to claim the championship title.

In the opener, it was a 71-66 win against Susan Moore that kick-started the special run.

On Saturday, Nov. 19, the Hornets kicked off the game with a powerful first quarter totaling 17 points and gaining a two-point lead over the Bulldogs.

Sophomore Sadie Schwallie led the Hornets in the first quarter with five points. Schwallie knocked down two two-pointers and a single free-throw. 

Following Schwallie, Haley Trotter, Sophia Brown and Olivia Pryor finished the quarter with a combined 12 points.

Chelsea continued to extend its lead with another powerful quarter from Schwallie before the half. Schwallie made the first basket outside the arc, along with two more two-pointers and another basket from the free-throw line.

Madison Moore knocked down her first basket of the game and Trotter had four more points added to the Hornets’ score.

The Hornets were up 31-30, and the stakes continued to rise from there on out.

A slower quarter for Chelsea, as the Bulldogs returned from being more aggressive than before. The Hornets were only able to obtain 13 more points before the final quarter. However, Chelsea was able to hold back Susan Moore, making the third quarter a battle of the defenses.

Trotter built on her eight points from the first half with another four. Brown went three for three on the free-throw line. Moore scored on three points of her own, and Schwallie knocked down another three-pointer for the Hornets.

Chelsea’s fourth quarter kick-started the stressful end of the first round for the Hornets. Chelsea totaled 19 points to get into overtime after Susan Moore picked up a comeback and the Hornets had dropped the lead.

Brown’s free-throw game was near flawless against the Bulldogs after going five for five on the free-throw line. Out of Brown’s nine free throw attempts, she only missed one. Trotter and Pryor gained three points each outside the arc and Trotter gained two within. 

Moore topped off the Hornets’ score with six points in the final quarter, went two for two at the free-throw line and knocked down two additional baskets.

Chelsea and Susan Moore were officially thrown into overtime.

The Hornets overcame their final second-half deficit by totaling eight points over the Bulldogs.

Moore, Schwallie and Trotter’s foul shots tipped the score into Chelsea’s favor, advancing the Hornets to the next round that following Monday.

Pulling away with another close win, Chelsea faced Guntersville in the second round of the Turkey Jam.

The Hornets were able to overcome their first-half deficit, secure their spot in the championship round and obtain Coach Harlow’s 100th career win. 

Although Chelsea had made smart choices defensively, the team became more aggressive offensively to overcome the 27-21 halftime score.

The Hornets bounced back with a much better effort offensively in the second half, limiting Guntersville. Chelsea began to pick up the lead in the last two minutes by six points. 

Chelsea won 46-40.

Brown led the second round with 14 points, Trotter trotted behind with 13 points.

Tuesday concluded the tournament with the championship game between the Mountain Brook Spartans and the Hornets. A thrilling match up until the bitter end.

Chelsea returned to the court for the third time Tuesday night fired up and dominated the Spartans in the first half by double digits.

The Hornets led 31-16 before the second half.

Trotter kicked off the game with a powerful first quarter, practically being back-to-back at the net. She totaled eight points with Brown following her with five points.

Brown had knocked down a basket inside and outside the arc with ease. Moore tagged on four additional points for the combined 17 points Chelsea scored in the first quarter.

The Hornets’ defense limited Mountain Brook to five points in the second quarter while adding on another 14 of its own.

Brown was truly a powerhouse player in the Hornets’ race for the championship title, scoring five two-pointers before the Spartans unsuccessfully attempted to slow Chelsea down.

Mountain Brook was unsuccessful.

Trotter and Pryor tagged on four more points and catapulted the Hornets’ lead even further.

A comeback for the Spartans was unattainable, or so it appeared.

A changed Mountain Brook returned from halftime, prepared to overcome the deficit that had fallen upon them in the first two-quarters of the game.

This time, the Spartans were able to limit the Hornets to only achieving six points in the third quarter. Moore, Trotter and Brown were only able to maneuver a fired-up Mountain Brook offense for one basket each.

Now trailing behind Chelsea by three points, Mountain Brook was ready to take back its title more than ever.

Both the Spartans and Hornets were tied up in the final minute of the game.  It appeared as though Mountain Brook would score the final basket of the night securing their victory, but Chelsea was not about to give up in the fleeting moments of the game.

Mountain Brook had possession of the ball as the clock began to countdown. An aggressive Chelsea defense applied so much pressure to the Spartans that they decided to make the basket instead of allowing the clock to run out and missed the basket.

This time, however, it was the effort of the offense that helped the Hornets in the end.

A missed basket and a rebound by the Hornets allowed Chelsea to get one last lead and secure the Thanksgiving victory.

The Spartans were determined to get the ball back as quickly as possible, with the game having the potential of making it into overtime. However, one final basket from the Hornets saved them in the close final matchup.

A combined 14 points from Trotter, Schwallie, Moore, Pryor and Brown helped the Hornets walk away with yet another win.

Chelsea defeated reigning champs Mountain Brook in a thrilling conclusion to the annual Turkey Jam Tournament and picked up Harlow’s 100th win in the process.