Ellis girls come back to stun NCLA

Published 8:56 am Thursday, December 16, 2021

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By Brian Pitts
Enterprise Record

The Ellis girls basketball team’s 34-29 comeback win over visiting North Carolina Leadership Academy on Dec. 7 was no small feat.
The Jaguars trailed 11-2 at the end of the first quarter. Incredibly, they held a 28-21 lead at the end of the third.
By scoring 26 points in the middle quarters, the Jags continued their feel-good start. They improved to 3-0 after going 0-8 last season. This is their best start since 2016-17. This is their longest winning streak since a four-gamer in January of 2019.
“NCLA came out aggressive and had us on our heels,” coach Susan Jones said. “Their fullcourt press rattled our girls, causing multiple turnovers.
“After making some adjustments, we were able to battle back.”
Bailey Aderhold scored six of her team’s seven in the second as Ellis stayed within striking distance at 17-9. The Jaguars caught lightning in a bottle in the third, outscoring the Falcons 19-4 and storming to the 28-21 lead. Aderhold had nine of the 19 and Kate Nicholson chipped in four.
“At halftime we were able to refocus the girls,” Jones said. “We played our style of basketball, meeting aggression with aggression both offensively and defensively.”
It was an electrifying win because of Aderhold’s 19 points and an unexpected seven from Nicholson, who did not score in the first two games. It was an electrifying moment because Ellis overcame foul woes to its top two scorers, Aderhold and Emmie Burris, both of whom fouled out in the fourth.
Stella Frye and Burris played tight defense. Nicholson, Kayden Richardson and Aderhold provided paint presence. Madison Daugherty and Gracyn Coleman stepped up when the Aderhold and Burris picked up their fifth fouls.
“Stella and Emmie did a fantastic job putting pressure on the ball,” Jones said. “Kate, Kayden and Bailey anchored the paint with blocked shots, steals and strong rebounding. Madison and Gracyn came in to replace Bailey and Emmie and did a great job helping us secure the win.”
Richardson had four points, Burris three and Frye one.
Summit 43, Ellis 13
The Jaguars’ magic dried up at Summit on Dec. 9. They faced deficits of 12-3, 24-8 and 41-11 and suffered their first loss.
“We struggled from the start with the size and strength of each of their players,” Jones said. “They were all long-armed, strong and athletic with multiple players having the ability to shoot from the outside and handle the ball.”
It was a listless day for Ellis, which got eight points from Aderhold, three from Daugherty and two from Burris.
“Losing doesn’t bother me if I think we played to the best of our ability. We did not,” Jones said. “I have to remind them and myself that we are a young team and most of them didn’t even play last year.
“Shout out to Bailey for continuing to drive even when her shots didn’t fall and to Emmie for shutting down their best player (Lila Kelly) in the first half.”
Wesleyan 40, SD 26
South Davie kept pace with Wesleyan Christian Academy in the first half, trailing 18-17, but the second half was a different story as the Tigers endured their worst loss since a 37-21 decision to Wesleyan in January of 2020.
The game was held in High Point on Dec. 7.
Johnson fouled out, which contributed to the Trojans’ 23-8 dominance in the second half, according to coach Brandon Gentry.
Johnson finished with 12, Makenzie Gentry had 11 and Harmoni Alston three.
SD 40, NCLA 23
The Tigers made amends by winning the next two games. They toppled North Carolina Leadership Academy at home on Dec. 8.
A powerful second quarter sent South on its way. Johnson, Londyn McDowell, Joyah Abrams, Gentry and America Stockton all scored during a 15-3 run that produced a breezy 25-9 halftime lead.
Gentry hit four 3-pointers to finish with 14 points. Johnson had 13, Stockton six, McDowell five and Abrams two.
At this point, Gentry (14.3 points per game) and Johnson (13.7) were responsible for 76 percent of South’s scoring.
But “Londyn and America handle the boards, and Joyah is the hustler and the scrappy one,” coach Gentry said. “All the other girls are great hustlers and are getting better every day.”
SD 38, HPC 27
Again the Tigers gained separation in the second quarter to win at High Point Christian on Dec. 10.
After a 6-6 first, Gentry and Stockton did the most damage during an 11-4 run in the second. Johnson scored eight of South’s 11 in the third, which ended with South ahead 28-22. Points from Johnson and Ari Warren protected the lead in the fourth as South improved to 3-2.
Johnson, who has scored at least 12 in each game, had 18. Gentry had nine, Warren six and Stockton five.
North Davie lost at NCLA on Dec. 9. The Wildcats are 0-4.