Lady Jags cruise to 4-0

Published 12:56 pm Tuesday, November 7, 2023

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

For the third time in three games, the Ellis girls basketball team could do anything it wanted. Four players (Olivia Smith, Gracie Shore, Zoe Summers and Gracyn Coleman) scored in double figures as the Jaguars dismantled Southeast 49-3 on the road on Oct. 30.

Smith (11 points, nine steals, eight rebounds), Shore (10 points, six steals, five assists), Summers (10 points) and Coleman (10 points) shared the spotlight. But as always, suffocating defense was the key.

“As a team, the focus is our defense,” coach Susan Jones said. “And they have all bought into this 100 percent. You wouldn’t know it by seeing the score, but as a team, we struggled with our shots. They just weren’t falling. They took good shots and kept taking them, which is all we want. But our defensive pressure – reading the ball, forcing turning overs and getting steals – is where we consistently scored.”

Layla Hazlip, a seventh grader who did not play for Ellis last year, has been an unsung hero. She had four points and eight rebounds against the Patriots.

“Our defensive presence in the paint continues to be felt with Layla in the middle,” Jones said.

Sydney Ward and Olivia Rareshide had two points each.

Ellis 54, SB 35

Jones had to be wondering how the Jaguars would perform in a close game. By their 2023 standards, this was a close game – a 19-point road win over Selma Burke on Nov. 2.

After outscoring the first three opponents 54-6 on average, Ellis found itself in a competitive game in the first half. The Jags led 14-9 after the first quarter and 27-17 at halftime. They did manage to pull away in the second half.

“The score does not depict the closeness of this game,” Jones said. “Even after the half, there was a point early in the third quarter where we were only up by six and Gracyn picked up her third and fourth fouls, forcing her to sit the rest of the third. At this point, we switched defenses and everyone responded playing aggressively and put Selma Burke back on its heels.”

Shore overwhelmed the Bears with 23 points, nine steals, five rebounds and two blocks. It was her second 23-point outing. Smith had 11 points, five steals and four assists. Those two have been in double figures in points in every game.

“Olivia Smith was dependable as always,” Jones said. “Gracie led the team and played consistently from start to finish.”

After averaging 5.1 points as a seventh grader, Coleman (eight points, six steals, two assists against Selma) has become an offensive weapon. Her eighth-grade scoring average is 10.

“Gracyn, while limited in time with foul trouble, was still able (to stuff the stat sheet),” Jones said.

Hazlip contributed eight points and four boards. Summers and Ward had two points apiece.

“Layla really used her strength inside in the second half,” Jones said.

C-L 27, ND 20

North Davie took a 13-12 lead to halftime at Corriher-Lipe on Oct. 30, but the Wildcats ran out of gas in the second half and lost despite a 13-point effort from Jaynie Patton.

Julia Powell and Calloway Spillman had four and three points, respectively.

SD 32, ND 12

Allie Cothren, who cracked double figures for the fourth time in five games, matched North Davie’s scoring output by herself as South Davie rolled past the visiting Wildcats on Nov. 2.

Cothren (12 points) was the biggest reason the Tigers rose to 4-1, but as coach Julie Snow pointed out, she had plenty of help in other areas.

“There was no star in this game because the team was the star,” she said. “These girls are so coachable. We have consistently worked on fundamentals in practice and it is starting to pay off. We are a bunch of athletic girls who are slowly turning into athletes. Our defense is getting better and we all know good defense leads to good offense.”

Sakariah Allison and Sarenity Miller had six points each for South. Scarlett Brock had four, while Akiela Young and EG Snow had two.

For the Wildcats (1-3), who suffered their third loss in a row, Powell had 4, Patton 3, Zariya Oliver 3 and Zoe Shore 2.

South got a measure of revenge for last year, when North claimed both meetings.