BEAR CREEK — Shaking off a tough non-conference loss to Providence Grove one night earlier, Chatham Central focused its attention last Friday on the start-up of Yadkin Valley 1A Conference play in …
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BEAR CREEK — Shaking off a tough non-conference loss to Providence Grove one night earlier, Chatham Central focused its attention last Friday on the start-up of Yadkin Valley 1A Conference play in Gerald L. Binkley Gymnasium by jumping out to a 21-8 first-quarter lead over a young South Stanly squad and rolled to a 56-42 victory that wasn’t as close as the final score might indicate.
With a win in their league opener the Lady Bears raised their overall record to 3-2, while the Lady Rowdy Rebel Bulls remained winless after four outings and dropped to 0-1 in the conference standings.
Danielle Vaughn fired in six three-pointers – giving her 10 treys in her last two games – to finish the night with 18 points in leading three Chatham Central players in double figures.
Mary Grace Murchison contributed 13 points for the Lady Bears and Savannah Stilwell came off the bench to add a dozen as Chatham Central connected on 34 percent (19-of-56) of its field goal attempts and held a 17-16 edge in rebounds while committing 18 turnovers.
Sadie Lee tallied 10 points while D’Nysia Wall and Jacy Noble added nine apiece for the Lady Bulls, who shot 29% (15-of-52) from the floor besides turning the ball over 15 times.
“Our offense was clicking very well tonight,” said Lady Bears’ coach Lynda Burke. “We did a nice job passing the ball to find the open person for good looks at the basket, while both the high and low posts got shots on most possessions. Danielle is a pure shooter who has great form, and her ball handling makes her one of our leaders on the floor. In addition she listens well and works very hard to constantly improve her game. Defensively we started out in a zone but changed to a man defense when South Stanly hit some threes, and that made a big difference. Then later in the second half we switched to a 3-2 defense.”
Lady Bulls’ coach Sean Whitley stated with the youth on his team the season so far has been a work in progress.
“Five of the 10 players on our roster are freshmen, and we only have three individuals on the team with limited varsity experience, and two of those were freshmen last year,” said Whitley. “While we were definitely out-sized tonight, I thought we boxed out well and held our own on the boards. It all starts with effort, and I was pleased with the aggressiveness I saw on the floor.”
South Stanly gave the Lady Bears all they wanted in the opening five minutes of action and only trailed 10-8 following Wall’s trey from the right wing with 2:58 remaining in the first stanza.
But six straight points from Stilwell – in the form of two free throws, a put-back off the right baseline and a lane jumper – then triggered an 11-0 Chatham Central quarter-ending run that put the Lady Bears in full control.
Three-pointers by Vaughn and Murchison highlighted a second period in which Chatham Central outscored the Lady Bulls 11-4 as the winners proceeded to fashion a 32-12 advantage at the break.
With Vaughn, Stilwell and Grace Jones combining for 14 points in the third stanza, the Lady Bears continued to expand their lead, which grew to 50-23 by the conclusion of the quarter.
But South Stanly refused to throw in the towel and instead began chipping away at its huge deficit as Burke cleared her bench in the fourth period while the Lady Bulls went on to outpoint Chatham Central 19-6 over the last eight minutes to make the final margin more respectable.