Ellis’ record girls are at 11-1

Posted at 11:37 p.m. on Tuesday, January 24, 2023

By Brian Pitts

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Kayden Richardson has missed four games and will not return this season. To complicate matters, Ellis’ women’s basketball team lost another key player to injury last week in defensive warrior Gracyn Coleman.

Those setbacks could come back to haunt the Jaguars in the final week of the regular season and/or conference tournament, but then again, there’s quite a bit of firepower on coach Susan Jones’ team. Ellis went wild through Millennium Charter and Canterbury last week and broke two program records in the process.

“We went for a shootout (January 16) and Gracyn hurt her ankle again,” Jones said. “Defensively, we weren’t as aggressive as usual (at Millennium). The defensive problem was probably due to the absence of Gracyn, who is like a bulldog on the ball, causing chaos that triggers the rest of the girls .

The visiting Jaguars carved out a 10-1, 48-18 lead before beating Millennium 56-19 on Jan. 17.

While Emmie Burris (17 points, six steals) was the star, Madison Daugherty had one hell of a coming-out night in terms of scoring. She scored 14 points on 6-of-6 shooting, doubling her previous scoring record, while hitting two 3s and making three interceptions.

“Emmie was our anchor and she performed phenomenally,” Jones said. “Madison was as consistent as ever running the point. She has a self-confidence that helps the team to have confidence not only in her, but also in what she does.

The third double-digit Jaguar was Olivia Smith (10 points, three steals). Ellis had seven points and five steals from Cayleigh Love, six points and five rebounds from Quinn Cornatzer and two points, three rebounds and two steals from Kate Nicholson.

“Quinn came back after spraining her wrist in the South Davie game and brought a great presence to the low post,” Jones said. “Cayleigh was a continuous pressure on the point.”

To make the victory even better, Emily Hernandez, Sydney Ward and Olivia Rareshide got extended minutes in the fourth quarter.

“(They got) some well-deserved minutes,” Jones said. “They played selflessly and it was fun to watch.”

Ellis 42, Canterbury 16

When the first quarter ended at Canterbury on January 19, Jones was not happy. The score was 7-7 and Ellis was slow.

But the difference in talent became evident in the second quarter. Burris took over, Ellis took a 21-11 halftime lead and he never looked back.

“(Ellis) took control when Emmie stepped in and drained two 3s,” Jones said. “She always seems to know when the team needs something, and she tends to step in and do it – whether it’s hitting a 3, stealing or driving for a layup. She’s a player in every way.

Jones was happy with how the halftime adjustments went. Ellis scored all eight points in the third and the rout was on.

“We planned to spread the pressure around the half court by getting Emmie to the top of the 3-point arc while Madison and Cayleigh continued to pressure both guards as they crossed the half court” , she said. “That left Olivia, Kate and Quinn to keep Canterbury’s 6ft post player covered in paint. The girls played feverishly well.

Smith (15 points, four rebounds, three assists, three steals), Burris (12 points, five steals, three rebounds, two assists) and Daugherty (eight points, six rebounds, four assists, four steals) dominated. Cornatzer had three points. Love had two points and six steals. Nicholson had two points.

The Jaguars set program records for winning streak and winning streak. They have won seven games in a row; the old record in their 16-year history was five. They are 11-1, winning by an average score of 41-21. The previous winning mark was nine (9-6 in 2008-09 and 9-6 in 2013-14).

ND 39, SD 28

The January 18 North Davie-South Davie game was tough for three quarters, but the host Wildcats eventually pulled out in the fourth.

By the end of the third, the Wildcats had a 25-21 lead. But Avarie Martin and Landry Parsons dictated the terms in the deciding quarter, scoring 12 of North’s 14 points and carrying their team above .500 (6-5).

“In the first half we couldn’t touch the ocean,” North coach Trish King said. “We took some great photos, everything went in and out or around the rim.

“We increased our defensive pressure (in the fourth), made a few interceptions and finished with quick lay-ups. I’m so proud of the courage and determination we showed on defense.

There’s no overstating what Martin has meant for North’s season. She scored 18 points, the fifth time she has reached this level. She averages 15.3 of North’s 34.4 points.

Martin, however, can’t do it alone, and Parsons stepped up with 11 points. After amassing 13 points in the first eight games, she blossomed in the last three (averaging 9.3 over that streak). Maddie Ratledge had six and Hayden Gavura four.

“Landry did a couple clutch shots,” King said. “She went 4-4 from the line. Definitely a lot of improvement in his game. Last year was his first year playing basketball, and I think it’s finally starting to stall.

For South, Londyn McDowell (14 points) did everything to lead his team to victory.

“She knew this might be her last game as a college girl,” South coach Brandon Gentry said. “She played her heart out and left everything on the pitch.”

Aryanna Warren had eight, Harmoni Alston four and Vivian Vaughters two.

Although the Tigers (3-10) have lost four straight, including a hard-fought 31-27 loss to Wesleyan on Jan. 17, Gentry has seen steady improvement throughout the season.

“They don’t need to put their heads down,” he said. “If they look at the start of the season and look at how we ended (the regular season), we became a team. I have a lot of starters and that says a lot about how this team came together. I’m super proud of them.

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