BEAR CREEK — It’s been said close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, a fact the Lady Jets of Jordan-Matthews found to be painfully true in their rematch with arch rival Chatham Central …
Thanks for reading Chatham County’s leading news source! Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing to the News + Record – you can do so by clicking here.
BEAR CREEK — It’s been said close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, a fact the Lady Jets of Jordan-Matthews found to be painfully true in their rematch with arch rival Chatham Central Tuesday night in Gerald L. Binkley Gymnasium.
After being blown out by 21 points in their first meeting six days earlier, J-M battled the Lady Bears to the wire before failing to capitalize on two chances to pull out a win in the final 15 seconds as Chatham Central hung on for a 37-35 non-conference victory.
Sweeping the season series with Jordan-Matthews for the fifth straight year, the Lady Bears improved to 2-1 while the Lady Jets fell to 1-3.
Mary Grace Murchison led the way for Chatham Central with 17 points and Danielle Vaughn chipped in 10 for the winners, who shot 40% (14-of-35) from the floor while turning the ball over 21 times.
Jasmine Scotten tallied 13 points and Ellia Wright added 10 for the Lady Jets, who connected on 33% (15-of-45) of their field goal attempts and held a 20-16 rebounding advantage while committing 20 turnovers.
“I thought J-M was a much-improved team over the one we played last week,” noted Lady Bears’ coach Lynda Burke. “Our press didn’t hurt them at all tonight, while they caused us problems running our offense as Mary Grace and Danielle had difficulty going to the basket off the dribble. The third quarter was the key for us when we switched from a zone to man defense, while Danielle stepped up big on offense in the period to give us the lead for good.”
Jordan-Matthews’ coach Charles Byrd remarked he continues to see his team’s leadership improve each outing.
“The girls are really beginning to buy in on how we want to play defense for all four quarters,” said Byrd. “While I thought we played well in transition on the open court and did a better job attacking and driving to the basket, our offense appeared stagnant at times and we need to do more movement without the ball.”
Behind back-to-back Avery Headen three-pointers to start the game, the Lady Jets jumped out to a quick 6-0 advantage and never trailed in the opening stanza, but a pair of Vaughn free throws with 37 seconds to go trimmed J-M’s lead to 12-11 after one quarter.
A Murchison layup with 7:24 left in the second period gave Chatham Central its first advantage before the Lady Bears expanded their lead to 18-14 on her trey from the left wing midway through the stanza prior to Wright’s floater in the lane with 1:50 remaining in the first half that narrowed the difference to two at intermission.
Ashlyn Ray’s jumper from the left side with 3:24 to go in the third quarter capped an 8-2 J-M run that put the visitors from Siler City up by four before Vaughn’s three-pointer from the right wing with 22 seconds left in the period culminated a 6-0 Chatham Central burst that gave the Lady Bears a 26-24 edge entering the final eight minutes.
Savannah Stilwell’s jumper in the lane with 5:42 to play increased Chatham Central’s advantage to 32-24 prior to consecutive hoops by Wright that triggered an 11-4 Jordan-Matthews’ spurt to close the gap to one following Makayla Glover’s layup with 31 seconds showing on the clock.
After Murchison missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity with 15 seconds remaining, Wright grabbed the rebound and pushed the ball into the frontcourt before the Lady Jets committed a turnover on the right baseline.
Vaughn was then fouled and converted the front end of a one-and-one prior to missing her second attempt, and once again Wright collared the rebound but couldn’t advance the ball past midcourt before the horn sounded.