MILLEDGEVILLE — The Lady Trojans sailed to victory through some outstanding defensive play Tuesday night on the road against the Westminster Wildcats.
Forcing many turnovers kept the Wildcats from scoring and gave the Trojans the opportunities they needed. Sophomore point guard Kelsey Chambers had a fantastic night, leading the team with 17 points and eight steals. Mollie Ritchie, senior, was all over the boards and came away with another double-double — 10 points and 10 rebounds. Ritchie has achieved a double-double in every game since Christmas, except two.
Sophomore Hannah Miller had a hot hand from deep and scored seven points for the team, while senior Kristin McCoy and junior Sydney NeSmith each had two points. Junior Kate Giddens managed to put one point in the books, but, according to Coach Natasha Gainous, she “played an excellent game defensively.”
Gainous said the team’s defensive play was very important.
“Defense was key for us tonight,” she said. “Anytime you can hold a team to only 12 points you have a pretty good chance of winning the game.”
Gainous also said next week’s game will be a big one.
“It's our last regular season home game. We have Augusta Prep, who are right behind us in region rankings, so we need to get in here and contain their point guard, and if we can do that I think we'll come out with another win.”
The JMA varsity boys team played hard and played well against a highly-ranked Westminster team. JMA was leading at the half and expecting perhaps another easy win. But that's when the Wildcats decided to unsheathe the claws and put up a fight.
The entire second half Westminster was nipping at JMA's heels. With one minute to go in the game, JMA had a chance to win but couldn't capitalize on the opportunity. In overtime, one or two costly JMA turnovers gave the Wildcats the chance they needed. Westminster scored twice in overtime, but the Trojans were unable to find the net.
Final score was Westminster 39, JMA 35.
Coach Thomas Craig said he was happy with the way his guys played.
“I thought we played pretty good for four quarters,” he said. “That's twice this year overtimes have been our Achilles heel. We haven't scored in overtimes twice this season. But we gave ourselves a chance going into the fourth quarter, and gave ourselves a chance late in the game. Hats off to Westminster. They hit shots when they had to down the stretch. Good solid game by both teams. If that's the number one team in our region, then we don't have too far of a gap to close. [My] guys battled for five quarters, so, that's all you can ask from them.”
For the boys varsity, senior guard Brantley Attaway scored 15 points, eight rebounds, and a key block late in the game. Right behind him was sophomore Chase Register with 10 points, five rebounds and two steals. Junior Brandon Panfil had a good night with three steals and two assists, as did junior Vince McPherson who had four points. Senior Jesse Deariso had five rebounds, two points and a blocked shot. Senior Michael Lewis and junior Charlie Staton also had two points each.
Craig said next week’s game at home, hosting Augusta Prep, looks to be big.
“Friday night's shaping up to be a huge game for us. Hopefully we can keep playing as well as we are. We just got to keep battling. That's all we can do.”