Cold-Shooting Patriot Girls Stop Bucs
The Pinecrest girls snapped out of an almost nightmarish offensive funk just in time to defeat Jack Britt 28-23 in Monday’s basketball season opener at James Moore Gym.
The Patriots trailed 23-16 with 3:33 left in the final period. They had made only six of 44 shots from the field in the game when freshman Jasmine Chalmers drained a long two for their first points of the second half. Keegan Lynch handed out a pair of assists, and Janea Williams contributed seven points as the Pats closed it out with a 12-0 run.
The Buccaneers did not make a field goal in the second half and only five in the game. The Patriots held them scoreless in the fourth period. Chalmers finished with a game-high 11 points, and Williams chipped in with eight.
“The game was tough,” Williams said, “but toward the end everybody pulled together and the shots started falling. Great defense is basically all the game is, and defense brings offense.”
Defense was the one constant for coach Mike Loutzenheiser’s squad throughout the evening. The Pats’ first field goal was a basket by Felicia Painter at the 1:37 mark of the first period that cut the Buc lead to 6-3. The offense picked up in the second period and the home team trailed only 18-16 at the intermission.
“Like I told the girls at halftime, I think we were six-for-29 (from the field),” Loutzenheiser said. “I told them to just keep playing hard. We can’t control whether it goes in or out, but we can control what we do. We got hot at just the right time.”
Painter, who scored six points and grabbed 10 of her 14 rebounds in the first half, left the game with her fourth foul in the opening minute of the third period and did not return until the start of the fourth. Halfway through the third, a pair of free throws by the Bucs’ Marilyn Sherbondy made it 23-16.
The Patriot coach called a time out shortly before Chalmers’ basket midway through the fourth period broke an almost 13-minute drought, making it 23-18. Lynch and Megan Thomas each fed Williams inside for baskets that cut the margin to 23-22 with 2:20 remaining.
A moment later, Chalmers calmly made both halves of a one-and-one opportunity at the foul line to give the Pats a 24-23 lead.
“She had so many butterflies going into that game,” Loutzenheiser said. “She’s all about hustle, and it’s contagious. That affects all of us.”
Lynch then found Williams free inside again for two points, picking up her fifth assist of the game. The two juniors each split a pair at the foul line in the closing minute to complete the scoring.
“Janea and I just have that connection,” Lynch said after also grabbing nine rebounds. “We know where we are on the court most of the time.”
Chalmers admitted she was nervous after a solid varsity debut.
“I’m a freshman, so it’s kind of hard playing with new people — people better than I was,” she said. “But they’ll get me ready.”
The Patriots were scheduled to travel to Seventy-First on Tuesday.
“We were sloppy, we had way too many fouls and missed a lot of easy shots,” Loutzenheiser said. “We have to clean that up, but for us to play kind of destructive to ourselves, and come away with a win, is tremendous. It’s all because of their work ethic.”
The Pinecrest girls’ junior varsity basketball team opened the season with a 29-18 victory at Jack Britt Monday. Victoria Thigpen was the leading scorer for the Patriots with 12 points.
Jack Britt 8 10 5 0 — 23
Pinecrest 3 13 0 12 — 28
Jack Britt: Ferguson 0 0-0 0, Foy 2 4-7 8, Sherbondy 0 2-2 2, McKoy 1 2-4 4, Slaughter 2 0-0 4, Taylor 0 0-1 0, Franzoni 0 5-7 5. Totals 5 13-21 23.
Pinecrest: Chalmers 3 5-11 11, Braswell 0 0-0 0, Thomas 1 0-0 2, Painter 2 2-2 6, Lynch 0 1-2 1, Waddell 0 0-0 0, Williams 3 2-5 8, Fairley 0 0-0 0, Thomas 0 0-2 0. Totals 9 10-23 28.
Three-point goals: None
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