SILER CITY — After streaking to an early 13-point advantage, Chatham Central managed to withstand a third-quarter Jordan-Matthews rally that sliced the margin to four before the Lady Bears closed …
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SILER CITY — After streaking to an early 13-point advantage, Chatham Central managed to withstand a third-quarter Jordan-Matthews rally that sliced the margin to four before the Lady Bears closed out the period with a 13-1 run en route to recording a 52-31 non-conference triumph over their arch rival last week in Frank N. Justice Gymnasium.
Defeating the Lady Jets for the ninth time in a row, Chatham Central won its season-opener while J-M fell to 1-1.
Mary Grace Murchison tallied 18 points while Danielle Vaughn added 16 for the Lady Bears, who connected on 43% (22-of-52) of their field goal attempts and held a 31-21 edge on the boards despite committing 23 turnovers.
Ellia Wright registered 11 points to pace Jordan-Matthews, which shot 26% (12-of-47) from the floor while turning the ball over two dozen times.
“I thought we played well the first half, capitalizing on our press to create steals and force turnovers that led to easy scores,” said Chatham Central coach Lynda Burke. “But when we switched from our zone to man-to-man coverage on defense and started taking bad shots J-M was able to mount a comeback before we began passing the ball instead of trying to drive to the basket, and our shot selection got better while we went back to our press to regain the momentum.”
Lady Jets’ coach Charles Byrd said his team played hard in spurts but got caught up in ball-watching at times.
“Chatham Central’s press bothered us at the outset and early-on caused us to be timid on offense,” Byrd said. “When we finally managed to turn up our defensive intensity we made a run at them to get back in the game before our energy level fell off again, and we need our effort to be consistent over the course of the whole game if we want to be successful.”
A Murchison three-pointer from the left wing at the 4:01 mark of the opening stanza capped a 15-2 start for the Lady Bears, and following a 6-0 Jordan-Matthews’ burst that narrowed the difference to seven, two Vaughn free throws coupled with Tanner Little’s turnaround jumper off the right baseline allowed Chatham Central to fashion a 19-8 lead after one quarter.
The Lady Bears expanded their advantage to 28-12 on Lindsey Johnson’s jumper in the lane with 17 seconds to go until halftime prior to the Lady Jets’ Avery Headen canning a trey from the right side with four seconds showing on the clock to draw J-M within 13 at the break.
With Wright scoring seven of Jordan-Matthews’ nine consecutive points to begin the third period, the Lady Jets closed the gap to 28-24 with 3:33 left in the stanza before Murchison notched eight points during a 13-1 quarter-ending run that gave Chatham Central a sixteen point lead entering the last eight minutes.
While J-M could never edge closer than 14 over the remainder of the contest, the Lady Bears continued to gradually pull away down the stretch and forged their biggest advantage of the night with 34 seconds remaining when Addie Fields’ turnaround bucket in the paint accounted for the final spread.