Chapmanville's Chloe Thompson (15) looks to past during the first quarter of the Big 10-Cardinal Conference Challenge on Dec. 3, 2022 against Fairmont Senior (File photo by Bill Lusk/WVOW Sports).
Bill Lusk | WVOW Sports
CHAPMANVILLE Alaira Evans scored 17 points and Chloe Thompson added 12 points and Class AA No. 7 Chapmanville pulled away from Belfry (KY), defeating the Lady Pirates 57-49 on Monday night at Danny Godby Gymnasium.
Evans scored 12 of her 17 points in the first half, including eight points in the opening quarter to get the Lady Tigers going offensively.
Evans, the team's leading scorer, was more assertive in the offense especially off of rebounds where she pushed the ball up court much to the pleasure of Chapmanville coach Kristinia Gore.
“I felt like she was a lot more assertive pushing the ball up the floor once she got a rebound or a steal. Sometimes she looks for somebody to go to, but I have talked to her about pushing the ball up the floor and being a leader on the floor,” Gore said of a conversation between herself and Evans during practice. “I saw some of that from her today and it was great. She made a great pass to Brooke (Christian) and Brooke got too far below the block and missed a layup, but we need Alaira to have that kind of confidence to run the break and I believe it is coming.”
Evans made 7 of 12 shots from the field before leaving the game with just under five minutes to play after bumping her knee on a drive to the basket. In her absence, Thompson stepped up for the Lady Tigers scoring eight of her 12 points in the fourth quarter.
Thompson finished 6 for 7 from the field including a perfect 4 for 4 performance in the final stanza and hauled down a team-high nine rebounds to go along with four blocked shots and two assists.
“Chloe had a huge game tonight and if you don’t account for where she is around the floor she is a good finisher around the basket,” Gore said. “She needed a big night, she is working harder and it was good to see her have that. I felt she was good on both ends tonight and came up with some blocked shots, had some rebounds and came up with a couple of steals.”
Belfry, who starts one seventh grader, an eighth grader, two juniors and one senior, hung around with the Lady Tigers for over 30 minutes in the first half.
“I got a young bunch, and I had a few missing tonight, but the girls that I got on the team, I have only coached one of them prior to this season,” Belfy coach Kevin Deskins said.
The Lady Pirates and Lady Tigers were tied at 16 after one quarter and Belfry, who led by as many as five in the first half, held a 25-22 lead on a layup by seventh grade point guard Karlea Stanley.
It would be the last lead for the Lady Pirates as Jayce Blair jumpstarted a late first half run that gave the Lady Tigers the lead and momentum heading into the locker room at halftime.
Blair knocked down a 3 with 1:18 remaining before halftime to tie the contest at 25. The tie was the last of eight deadlocks in the first half. Moments later, Evans followed with a basket to give the Lady Tigers a 27-25 lead, which happened to be the 10th and final lead change of the game.
Blair hit a 3 with 0:39 left to give Chapmanville a 30-25 lead heading into the locker room at halftime. Blair scored just six points, but her baskets jumpstarted a 15-1 run that gave Chapamnville a 37-26 lead following Jaiden Mahon's free throw with 5:38 to play in the third quarter.
“Jaycee came in and gave us huge minutes in the first half,” Gore said. “She is a kid that I got to continue to get more and more minutes because she is going to be big for us in the postseason and the years to come.”
Belfry trailed by as many as 15 points in the fourth quarter but rallied to get within eight points on two occasions, one of which was the final margin, however, the youthful Lady Pirates seemed to wear down on a bigger court and against a team that Deskins said was much more physical than anyone they have played this season.
“We needed that physicality, we needed this floor size, which is a little bit bigger to get us in shape,” Deskins said. “If our girls can learn from a defeat, this is something that you can get better from and grow, and you just hope that your girls keep confidence and approach things the right way.”
Stanley scored 15 points on 6 of 17 shooting for Belfry, Jaaliyah Warren scored 13 and Maci Maynard finished with eight points and eight rebounds.
“We couldn’t get into a flow of things offensively, we get stagnant and don’t move the basketball as well as we should,” Deskins said. “We got to grow, go back and watch film and see what we need to work on.”
Belfry shot 16 of 45 from the field, was 1 of 10 from 3-point range, shot 16 of 25 from the free throw line and only turned the ball over 10 times against Chapmanville's man-to-man defense.
“The effort was there, sometimes they played too hard, and they got to understand the difference, the tempo and what you need,” Deskins said. “You hope to be better and playing your best by February in Kentucky and we got our sights set on that.”
Christian had nine points and Hayley Fleming added eight points for Chapmanville, who made 22 of 48 field goal attempts, was 5 of 20 from 3 and 8 of 14 from the free throw line. The Lady Tigers also assisted on 15 of 22 made baskets.
“We had a lot more balance tonight, we moved the ball a little bit better and we got stagnant with it at times,” Gore said. “Their guards do a nice job of coming out and putting some pressure on and they are physical so we got to be a little bit stronger with the ball than what we were.”
“It was nice to see a little bit of ball movement and getting into the middle was key for us,” Gore said. “When we were able to do that some things opened up and we got some good opportunities.”
Belfry fell to 10-10 with the loss and was scheduled to host Magoffin County the following night before closing out the week Friday night at home against district foe Pike County Central.
“Our eyes are kind of set on that, not that we look over any team, but this is a big game for us,” Deskins said of the Lady Pirates opponent Friday.
Chapmanville improved to 10-5 and was scheduled to return to action Wednesday night against an improving Sissonville team.
Chapmanville 57, Belfry (KY) 49
Belfry (KY) (10-10)
Stanley 6-17 3-8 15, Warren 5-10 2-4 13, Maynard 3-3 2-2 8, Deboard 0-5 6-6 6, McNamee 1-3 3-5 5, Coley 1-6 0-0 2, Thornsbury 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 16-45 16-25 49.
Evans 7-12 3-5 17, Thompson 6-7 0-0 12, Christian 3-6 1-2 9, Fleming 3-8 2-5 8, Blair 2-8 0-0 6, Farley 1-4 0-0 3, Mahon 0-2 2-2 2. Totals: 22-48 8-14 57.
Belfry 16 9 12 12- 49
Chapmanville 16 14 15 12-57
3-Point Field Goals_Belfry 1-10 (Stanley 0-3, Warren 1-6, Deboard 0-1), Chapmanville 5-20 (Evans 0-2, Thompson 0-1, Christian 2-4, Fleming 0-1, Blair 2-6, Farley 1-4, Mahon 0-2). Fouled Out_Stanley. Rebounds_Belfry 24 (Maynard 8), Chapmanville 32 (Thompson 9). Assists_Belfry 3 (Stanley 3), Chapmanville 15 (Fleming 6). Total Fouls_Belfry 15, Chapmanville 17. Technicals_None.