Game of the Week
Control of South
Audio | Video | Girls' Basketball Forum
Photo: Above, Seaford point guard Shirelle Tingle flicks the ball away from Indian River's Dayna Elliott. Below, IR's Brittany Croll pump fakes on Seaford's Cassandra Wright and Ashlee Burbage.
FRANKFORD -- It's been a long time since the Seaford High School girls' basketball program couldn't turn to Tamekia Ross or Shiree Halley and say, "Here, you take over."
The two 1,000-point scorers graduated last year, taking with them what appeared to be a gaping hole for the Blue Jays to fill.
But after a 45-20 Henlopen Conference Southern Division victory over host Indian River on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2000, the Blue Jays have rebuilt quickly to go to 3-0 overall and 2-0 and atop the South standings. Included in the undefeated record is a 61-53 overtime victory over perennial upstate power St. Elizabeth on Saturday, Dec. 9.
The Indians suffered their first loss to fall to 2-1 overall and in the South.
Tuesday night, the Blue Jays relied on pressure defense to force numerous Indian turnovers, the three-point bombing of Tanya Purnell and Cassandra Wright, the slick ball-handling of point guard Shirelle Tingle, and the physical play of center Kadebra Brittingham under the boards.
That combination gave the Blue Jays a leg up on Indian River, which won the Henlopen South last year while Seaford battled Caesar Rodney as a member of the Henlopen North.
The Blue Jays' pressure defense kept the Indian offense off-balance all night, allowing no more than 6 points in any quarter and only 3 in the fourth period. The Indians, in fact, didn't score their first point of the third quarter until nearly five minutes had passed.
With the defense holding the Indians in check, Tingle carved up the Indians with crossover dribbles and assists in both the set offense and on the fast break.
Purnell took advantage with layups or stepping back behind the arc to sink 3 three-pointers on her way to a game-high 17 points. Wright also sank 3 three-pointers and finished with 13 points.
Brittingham, meanwhile, controlled the boards and finished with 9 points.
Emily Lyons, with 9 points, accounted for nearly half of the Indians' points.
Seaford took control of the game right from the start as it bolted to a 15-2 first quarter lead before a three-pointer by Lyons cut the gap to 15-10 by period's end. IR couldn't cut into the gap in the second and third periods. The Blue Jays then outscored IR 13-3 in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
SEAFORD -- Ashlee Burbage 1 0-0 2, Shirelle Tingle 1 0-0 2, Elise Wynn 1 0-0 2, Cassandra Wright 4 2-2 13, Tanya Purnell 7 0-2 17, Reniece Williams 0 0-0 0, Kadebra Brittingham 4 1-5 9. TOTALS 18 3-9 45.
INDIAN RIVER -- Natalie Parsons 2 1-3 5, Ashley Taylor 0 0-0 0, Ashley Lewis 0 1-2 1, Dayna Elliott 1 0-0 2, Brittany Croll 0 3-6 3, Emily Lyons 3 2-4 9. TOTALS 6 7-15 20.
Three-point field goals: Seaford 6 (Wright 3, Purnell 3); Indian River 1 (Lyons).
Photos: Above left, Indians River's Dayna Elliott tries to fend off Seaford's Elise Wynn. Above right, Indian River's Natalie Parsons (left) collides with Seaford's Chaunta Kilgoe.
Seaford head coach James Weardon on whether he considered this to be a rebuilding season:
"Yes and no. I considered it to be a very young year and didn't know how we were going to handle anything we did because we are so young, and still don't know how we're going to handle the things we do. As far as rebuilding, I've watched these kids come up through the middle school, knew what they could do, and most of the ones returning had extensive varsity starting experience, so they knew what they had to do out there on the court every night."
Weardon on replacing 1,000-point career scorers Tamekia Ross and Shiree Halley:
"It's got its good and its bad. There are times when you start looking for that one kid to go to, but I've got, on my varsity, eight strong kids who can really play basketball and they play well together. Any night can be anybody's night and that's what they're showing me."
Weardon on the team's pressure defense and three-point shooting:
"Those are the things that we wanted to come out and do this year. When we won the conference two years ago we were a three-point shooting team and I think I've got better shooters this year. When you're small you've got to counter-act somebody else's size with something else and we're going to try to do that with our speed and our ability to shoot outside."
Weardon on being in the South:
"They're (Indians) wearing the crown from the South and also wearing the crown in the conference as far as getting to play CR (in last year's conference championship game). We came down here with the attitude that we had to beat them to prove anything and the girls came out and did that."
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