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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Chelsea opens postseason with district win over Stockbridge

Riley Singleton puts in a layup during Monday's win over Stockbridge. Photo by Justin Lado.

The Chelsea Bulldogs girls’ basketball team won their opening game in the district tournament 54–43 against the Stockbridge Panthers Monday night.

Chelsea led wire-to-wire, their defense helping to build a lead the Panthers could never recover from.

“We really wanted to put pressure on the ball, make (Stockridge) run their offense further from the basket than they were used to,” said Chelsea head coach Todd Blomquist. “We were able to stay with our game plan and extend our lead on them.”

The Bulldogs’ defense came out smothering Stockbridge. They employed a full court pressure that befuddled the Panthers, never allowing them an easy trip up the court or uncontested pass. Two early 3-point shots kept Stockbridge close. Chelsea’s offense, led by Riley Singleton’s offensive rebound and buzzer-beater, took a 15–12 lead after one quarter.

Chelsea took control of the second period behind their floor general, Grace Sauers. The senior point guard directed the Bulldogs’ attack, dishing the ball on offense and stealing it on defense.

Bailey Darwin used her long frame to advantage, shutting down Panther offensive opportunities and blocking shots, including a three pointer that turned into a fast break layup for Chelsea. Chelsea led 32–20 going into halftime behind Darwin’s team high 10 first half points.

“Our defense always creates our offense,” said Sauers. “We had a couple key players we needed to stop and, as a whole, we needed to communicate. Our defense turned in some steals and we got some layups.”

The Bulldogs’ came out swinging in the third quarter, rattling off an 11-2 run to cushion their lead.

Sauers, who led the team with 17 points, had seven of the 11, while Riley Singleton got into the blocking fun, stuffing two Panther players under the basket. Stockridge finished the quarter on a 10–0 run to pull to within 11 to go into the final period of play trailing 43–32.

“Riley and Bailey are definitely one of our strengths,” said Sauers. “When they block, everyone gets revved up. It’s like another steal (for the defense).”

The two teams exchanged blows in the opening half of the final quarter. The Bulldogs were content to sit on their lead until an open look materialized. Time wound down and Chelsea hung on to their double digit lead for the win.

The Bulldogs will continue their postseason run on Wednesday, when they take on the Napoleon Pirates at 7:00 pm in the Onsted gymnasium.

Last Updated: 2/26/2013 10:11:45 AM EST

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