Chapelgate’s Casey Johnson proved that she has the ability to take over a game on both ends of the floor.
The sophomore forward scored in a variety of ways, finishing with 32 points and 18 boards to lead the Yellowjackets in a 50-28 victory over IAAM C Conference rival Glenelg Country on Thursday.
“Casey puts up pretty good numbers but the thing with her is that she is willing to learn,” Chapelgate coach Kortnie Smith said. “She gets her points off of rebounds and steals because she makes the necessary hustle plays.”
Johnson scored 20 of her points in the first half as the Yellowjackets took a 24-11 lead into halftime.
Chapelgate got off to a strong start thanks to a hawking full-court defense that pressured the Dragons and its dominance in the paint. Freshman center Jayla Powers blocked 12 shots as the Yellowjackets made things difficult for the smaller Glenelg Country.
“We played together as a team, especially on defense,” Johnson said. “We were communicating well (on the press) and if we missed anything, our teammate had our back.”
A drive to the basket by Kendra Issacs to open the third quarter pulled the Dragons within 11 points, but the Yellowjackets pulled away with an 11-2 run to close the quarter.
Johnson had seven points in that key spurt, Camille Keyes added a layup and Christina VanWingerden scored inside.
Chapelgate improves to 8-3 overall and currently leads the IAAM C X Division with a 4-1 mark. Smith credits the team’s success in her second season to the players’ growth on and off the court.
“They were learning me last year and now they’re a little more comfortable with my demands,” Smith said. “They have matured as individuals and as basketball players. When that happens you can throw a little more at them. This year they are putting the pieces together.”
The Dragons, led by senior Hannah Harbold (six points) and freshman Alayna Newsome (five rebounds), kept fighting with a 6-0 run late in the game. Harbold used a strong drive to the basket to finish at the rim, while Sabrina DeLeonibus and Newsome added buckets.
“I was very pleased with the way a couple of our freshman stepped up, especially Alayna,” Glenelg Country coach Ed Conroy said. “We played really physical today. This was the most physical game we’ve had all year and we really stepped up. They have a couple of girls that can bang inside.”
Since the teams are in different divisions in the C Conference, the players will have to wait until next season to renew the rivalry.
CC: Johnson 18, Powers 8.
GC: Smith 6, Newsome 5.
CC: Yahiro 4.
GC: DeLeonibus 3.