Chelsea uses defense to pull away from Pelham

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

PELHAM – The Chelsea girls basketball team continued to show its defense is one of the best in the state with a dominant showing against county rival Pelham on Friday, Jan. 8.

The Hornets held Pelham to seven points or less in all four quarters of the game, while the offense created separation with a 22-point opening quarter to pick up a 49-23 victory.

Chelsea did everything it needed to in the first quarter to set the tone for the game thanks to five different players scoring points, including four or more from four of those players.

Ellen Fleming knocked down two 3-pointers, while Sophia Brown made three baskets for 12 of the Hornets’ 22 in the quarter. Beyond that, Sydney Schwallie added a three and two free throws and Ashley Washington drained two baskets to help complete a dominant period offensively.

But it was a matched intensity on the defensive end of the floor that helped make the difference.

The Hornets allowed just two baskets and seven total points in the quarter, six of which came from Savanah Scarbrough.

Trailing 22-7 at the end of one, Pelham became determined on the defensive end in the second quarter, but it also became evident that Chelsea’s defense was there to stay for the game.

The Panthers only gave up four points in the quarter, a complete turnaround from what they did in the opening period, but Chelsea’s defense also improved from the seven points it gave up in the opening quarter.

Chelsea matched Pelham’s effort, giving up only one basket for four points, which kept the Hornets in front by 15 at 26-11 going into the half.

Coming out of the break, the defensive battle continued as both teams scored less than 10 points for the second period in a row.

But Fleming found her touch again, which made a difference. She posted five points, including one field goal and an and-1, to help Chelsea post nine as a team.

With the defense continuing a remarkable effort, the Hornets were able to extend their lead by two points to take a 35-18 lead into the final quarter.

That was more than enough cushion for Chelsea with the way the defense was playing.

The Hornets closed out the game with their second best offensive and defensive quarters of the game, giving up just five points and scoring five to put away the 26-point win.

Fleming led the way for Chelsea with 13 points, Mackenzie Titus added 11 and Schwallie eight points.

Pelham was led by Victoria West with eight points in the loss.