Ellis girls smother North Davie

Published 1:50 pm Thursday, December 1, 2022

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

The Ellis girls basketball team picked up where it left off in the season opener and made another statement at North Davie on Nov. 21, winning by 27 after opening with a 25-point win over South Davie.

“They dominated defensively from the start,” coach Susan Jones said after her Jaguars decimated North Davie 46-19. “We had prepared well for North, expecting a press, working on how to break it down as quickly as possible and trying to force them out of it. Jeff (Jones) and I are always telling the girls that defense is what wins games, and despite this year’s team having multiple girls that can shoot the ball, it was our defense that won the game.”

Offensively, Kayden Richardson set the tone with eight first-quarter points, by which time Ellis had an 18-6 lead. Gracyn Coleman’s six points in the third helped Ellis extend a 24-13 halftime lead to 39-17.

Richardson (13 points) and Olivia Smith (10) had the exact same scoring totals from the first game. Six more teammates chipped in for Ellis, including Coleman (nine), Emmie Burris (four), Madison Daugherty (three), Cayleigh Love (three), Olivia Rareshide (two) and Quinn Cornatzer (two).

“Kayden is discovering she has the ability to score in the paint at will,” Jones said. “Gracyn (had nine points) from on-the-ball steals and layups. Her energy is contagious.”

Ellis’ defense was spectacular. North’s Avarie Martin was dynamic with 23 points in a 43-17 rout of North Carolina Leadership Academy, but she was held to one field goal and five points against Ellis.

“A huge driving force behind our defense was the effort of Gracyn, Cayleigh, Madison and Emmie, who all took turns making sure there was constant ball pressure,” Jones said. “Our small forward (Smith) was very active defensively with her long arms reaching out to make multiple steals.”

The rebounding of Kate Nicholson, Richardson and Cornatzer helped spur the Jaguars to their biggest win since 50-20 over North in last year’s season opener.

“They were aggressive underneath the basket, where they dominated the boards and allowed us to push the ball up the court,” she said.

North got 10 points from Hayden Gavura and two each from Maddie Ratledge and Jaynie Patton.