Ellis girls romp over South

Published 11:29 am Tuesday, November 22, 2022

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

The Ellis girls basketball team’s opener at South Davie on Nov. 17 was everything a coach could want. The Jaguars dominated on both ends of the floor against the inferior Tigers and romped 41-16.

“We have been looking forward to the start of the season, and it didn’t disappoint,” Ellis coach Susan Jones said. “Watching our older players work and develop since last year as well as gaining new young players that have been coming to open gyms to practice basic skills made me want to see what possibilities we have for this season.”

The Ellis offense flowed through Kayden Richardson (13 points), Olivia Smith (10) and Cayleigh Love (10).

“Kayden and Olivia were constant threats – with Kayden driving on the inside and Olivia shooting from the perimeter,” Jones said.

Suffocating defense from Madison Daugherty, Gracyn Coleman and Love was equally important.

“Our defensive intensity is what spurred our offense,” Jones said. “We were able to run and push the ball, and the girls did a good job of seeing the court and sharing the ball on the fast breaks. Madison, Gracyn and Cayleigh all did an excellent job of pressuring South’s guards, causing numerous turnovers. Cayleigh’s points were enabled by the defensive pressure of these three combined.”

The other scorers for Ellis, which led 19-5 at halftime and extended the margin in the third quarter, were Emmie Burris (three), Daugherty (three), Quinn Cornatzer (one) and Sydney Ward (one).

Jones was also pleased with Kate Nicholson, Cornatzer and Burris.

“Katie and Quinn were our anchors in the paint, where they battled the entire game and were a constant presence on the boards,” she said. “Emmie was our go-to playing multiple roles – her position from last year as a guard as well as an added position as a post player on defense. She did a little of everything.”

Coach Brandon Gentry’s Tigers are starting over after enjoying eight straight winning seasons. Their points came from Aryanna Warren (five), Maliyah Allen (five), Vivian Vaughters (four) and Alleson Cothren (two).

Ellis squashed a seven-game losing streak to South.

ND 43, NCLA 17

It was Avarie Martin Night in North Davie’s opener against visiting North Carolina Leadership Academy on Nov. 17. The big girl was absolutely dominant as the Wildcats quickly matched the win total from last year, when they went 1-8.

Martin’s 22 points were the most by a Wildcat in 22 games, dating to Nadelie Jones’ 28 in a 44-40 loss to Ellis in January of 2020.

“She is one to watch,” North’s 25th-year coach, Trish King, said. “She definitely will be our leading scorer. She’s around 5-10 and can score from the inside or around the perimeter. I imagine she’ll draw a lot of defensive attention from other teams, but I think she is a smart enough player to handle the pressure. She’s a great ball handler as well. She’s definitely one the high school will be happy to get next year.”

The Wildcats charged to a 28-5 halftime lead while getting seven points from Maddie Ratledge, six from Hayden Gavura, three from Jaynie Patton and two each from Landry Parsons and Britt Carrier.

While Martin outscored the Falcons by herself, King saw encouraging signs in other areas.

“My point guard (Ratledge) has definitely matured as a player and did a great job of leading the action on the floor,” she said. “She and Landry played great defense at the top of our zone, creating a lot of steals.

“Hayden played her sixth-grade year and has returned as an eighth grader and will help quite a bit at the three guard.

“Jaynie, a sixth grader, was a nice surprise as she handled herself quite well offensively and defensively. I see her growing into quite the player. She will also be running the point some.