Chancellor and Caroline played at a frenetic pace for 32 minutes Tuesday night, which is to be expected of two girls basketball teams that employ full-court pressure defenses.
But the question entering the contest was who would benefit the most from that aggression.
Chancellor provided the answer in the first quarter. It wasn’t the modest lead the Chargers built in the first eight minutes that dictated the rest of the game. It was the foul trouble they created for the visiting Cavaliers.
Caroline standouts Jayla McNeill and Hope Toliver both spent almost the entire second quarter on the bench with three fouls apiece. Chancellor used that time to build a big cushion in an eventual 63–47 victory.
“That was an added benefit,” Chargers coach William Griffin said of Caroline’s foul trouble. “Everybody knows basically what we’re going to do. They just can’t get through it.”
Said Cavaliers coach Tim Marshall: “We’ve been playing against each other like this for years, and we knew coming in it was going to be tough like this. They were ready. We weren’t.
“Our girls didn’t play as hard and as aggressive as I wanted them to. That’s the bottom line. The better team won tonight.”
Chargers forward Sydney Jackson scored 16 of her game-high 20 points in the first half, and teammate Jayla Harris netted all 19 of her points in the final two quarters.
“It’s just a best friend thing,” said Jackson, who added three steals. “Jayla’s been my best friend for many years, and it’s just a chemistry thing. We feed off each other. If I know she’s down at any point, then I step it up, and if I’m down she’s going to step it up.”
Chancellor (11–3) defeated a Caroline team coming off an impressive 21-point victory over James Monroe on Friday. Toliver and McNeill combined for 47 points in that win, but the two managed only 14 total against the Chargers.
McNeill picked up her second and third fouls 30 seconds apart midway through the first quarter. She left the game with 3:49 left in the first quarter and didn’t return until 1:08 remained in the first half.
Similarly, Toliver drew two quick whistles to reach three fouls with less than a minute remaining in the first quarter. She sat the bench until late in the half.
While the two were out of the game, Chancellor outscored Caroline 22–8. The Chargers bridged the second and third quarters with an 18–4 run that allowed them to build a 42–21 lead, their biggest advantage of the game.
“I think it was just energy. We were all hyped for this game,” Jackson said. “It’s a rivalry and everybody was just ready and focused, and we were all just ready to win.”
The Cavaliers (9–4) kept fighting, however, and cut the deficit to 13 early in the third quarter. That was as close as they would get in the second half.
Guard Jazmen Moore led Caroline with 15 points. Freshman Rejon Hawkins had 11 points and four blocked shots.
McNeill had six points, six rebounds and two steals before fouling out with 6:50 left. Toliver had eight points and eight rebounds.
Chancellor point guard Lachaunda Patterson finished with nine points, seven assists and four steals. Marisa Soto had eight rebounds.
“Ever since I started as a freshman, playing against Caroline has always been one of our toughest games,” Harris said. “It’s just so good to get a win like this.”
The Chargers take a three-game win streak into their road game against Liberty–Bealeton on Thursday. Caroline, which had won its previous three games, looks to get back on track the same night at Louisa.
“This was a big challenge because we knew Caroline would be very good,” Griffin said. “We saw what they did to JM and everything, so building up to this we said we’ve got to win this game. We’ve got to make a statement. By beating them, that sends a statement to everybody else. We’re for real.”
Caroline (9–4): NyAsia Brown 1, Lexi Brown 0, Rejon Hawkins 11, Jayla McNeill 6, Jazmen Moore 15, Mykaila Smith 6, Hope Toliver 8, Markashia Washington 0. Totals: 12 19-29 47.
Chancellor (11–3): Gabby Coley 6, Sydney Collins 3, Jayla Harris 19, Sydney Jackson 20, Shawna Morris 2, Lachaunda Patterson 9, Makayla Snider 0, Marisa Soto 4, Maddison Wester 0. Totals: 22 18-23 63.
Three-point goals: Caroline 4 (J. McNeill, J. Moore, M. Smith 2). Chancellor 1 (J. Harris).