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Monday, Aug. 29, 2016

Big second half lifts Lady Bulldogs over Lady Camels

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Portageville's Courtney Chamberlain drives around Campbell's Morgan McCormick in the second quarter Friday night.(David Jenkins, Staff)
CAMPBELL -- All season the long the Portageville Lady Bulldogs basketball team has been preparing to win a district title and advance into the state playoffs. Friday night that preparation paid off as the Lady Bulldogs defeated Campbell 59-48 to win the Class 2, District 1 championship.

"I thought we played really well as a team," said Portageville coach Eric Ellerbrook. "Of course every game you are going to find faults but tonight we played as a team. We've been working all year for this game and this is what it came down to and we won and that is all that matters."

The game was anything but easy for the Lady Bulldogs, currently the No. 1 ranked team in Class 2, as Campbell took a 14-12 lead after one quarter when Campbell's Morgan McCormick grabbed a steal and went the length of the floor for a layup with three seconds left in the quarter.

Campbell held the lead for most of the second quarter until Portageville senior Courtney Chamberlain hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 22 with 1:15 left in the first half. Then Ronesha Ray hit a 3-pointer as time expired in the first half to give the Lady Bulldogs a 25-22 halftime lead.

"We had the lead going into that," said Campbell coach Daren Ellsworth. "That definitely helps the other team if they can turn around the lead going into halftime."

Ellerbrook said his team came out a little tight but put it together in the second half.

"We were nervous at first," said Portageville's Anna Long. "We knew they were going to come strong and they wanted to beat us. But we shook all the jitters out and came out focused (in the second half)."

"We went back in the room and talked about how we just needed to slow it down," said Portageville's Brittany Walker. "We just told ourselves we didn't have anything to worry about and to keep our heads in the game and stay focused."

The Lady Bulldogs came out in the second half and tried to get the ball to their post player, senior Jeleea Drake. Campbell was able to keep Drake from touching the ball for most of the first half.

"That was a point of emphasis at halftime," Ellerbrook said of getting the ball to Drake. "I think in the first half she touched the ball three times. I told them at halftime that we had to get the ball to Jeleea and that is what we have to revolve around and we did. The team played unselfish."

Portageville held a slim 34-31 lead with just over two minutes to play in the third quarter when the Lady Bulldogs turned up the defensive intensity. The Lady Bulldogs forced several Campbell turnovers that led to easy baskets in transition and a 43-31 lead at the end of the quarter.

"(The run) came down to playing defense and rebounding and we were able to get some buckets on transition," said Ellerbrook. "Right now everything comes down to defense and rebounding and the rest will take care of itself."

"They increased their intensity in the third quarter and got a little more physical," said Ellsworth. "If you don't respond to that (burst), they'll make that run on you."

Portageville continued to build on their lead in the fourth quarter, building as much as a 54-39 lead after two free throws from Chamberlain and Campbell could never get the lead back under double figures.

"It was just the intensity," Chamberlain said of Portageville's fourth quarter. "My teammates were encouraging and from that encouragement my intensity went up. I just thought that we had to put it away and keep playing hard and not let down."

The game marked the fourth time this season that Portageville has defeated Campbell, something that was not lost on Ellerbrook.

"Campbell is a tough team," Ellerbrook said. "They are a very well-coached team and they have kids that hustle. We are proud to have played such a tough team and come away with four wins."

Walker led Portageville in scoring with 15 points. The senior also pulled down 10 rebounds before fouling out late in the fourth quarter. Chamberlain added 11 points and three steals while Talisa Walker chipped in 10 points.

Campbell (18-7) was led by Chelsea Bledsoe's 17 points. McCormick added 10 points while Whitney Whorton had seven points to go along with her 11 rebounds.

Portageville (26-2) will play in a Class 2 sectional game against the winner of Couch/Hartville that was to be played on Saturday night. The sectional game will be at 7:45 p.m. Wednesday night on the campus of Three Rivers Community College.

"We have high expectations with this team," Chamberlain said. "I think we are a good team because we have learned to play together as a team. I think we can make it far if we just play together."


CAMPBELL (48) -- Courtanie Vaughn 8, Sasha Loyd 3, Whitney Whorton 7, Morgan McCormick 10, Chelsea Bledsoe 17, Morgan Pace 2, Chelsea Bader 1. FG 15, FT 15-25, F 21. (3-pointers: Bledsoe 1, Loyd 1, Vaughn 1. Fouled out: Whorton, McCormick, Bledsoe).

PORTAGEVILLE (59) -- Jeleea Drake 7, Kaitlyn Nowlin 4, Anna Long 3, Ronesha Ray 9, Talisa Walker 10, Brittany Walker 15, Courtney Chamberlain 11. FG 18, FT 17-33, F 17. (3-pointers: Chamberlain 2, B. Walker 2, Ray 2. Fouled out: B. Walker).