By Mike Williamson – email@example.com
While it wasn’t pretty, the Chelsea girls’ basketball team got the job done and ground out a 30-24 win over Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard on its way to the Division 2 District Title Friday night.
The Bulldogs offense struggled once again, but the defense came through clamping down on Gabriel Richard for most of the night.
“We turned the ball over quite a bit and just couldn’t get in a rhythm,” Coach Todd Blomquist said. We weren’t getting bounces and they (Gabriel Richard) were getting offensive rebounds. We kind of put our back against the wall.”
Gabriel Richard jumped out to a 5-0 lead and the Bulldogs did not break through until Abby Fullerton hit a triple with just over two minutes to go in the first quarter. Madeleine Kennedy and Helena Schultz scored to tie the game at 7-7 at the end of the first.
Sophomore Emily McCalla hit a three to start the second quarter and Fullerton followed with a triple to give Chelsea a 13-9 lead. The Bulldog defense would hold Richard to just two points in the second quarter.
Chelsea looked to pull away in the third taking a six-point lead 21-15 when Fullerton hit two of three free throws after being fouled on a three-point attempt.
Maddie Vasquez picked up her fourth foul right after that and Richard responded with a 5-0 run to close the quarter and cut the lead to 21-20 after three.
McCalla hit another big three-pointer to start the fourth to give the Bulldogs a 24-20 lead. “The M-O of this team has been that you don’t know who is going to make the plays and tonight Emily hit some big shots,” Blomquist said.” We have had eight different leading scorers this season. That’s a good thing, but it is also a bad thing because we are not depending on somebody.”
Richard scored to cut the lead to 24-22 with 4:25 left and it would stay that way until the final two minutes.
Vasquez came back in with four fouls and took a pass underneath and scored to make it 26-22 with 1:21 left. Richard again answered to make it 26-24 with a minute left.
The Bulldogs missed the front end of a one-and-one, got the rebound and missed the putback, but Vasquez grabbed another offensive rebound and Chelsea called timeout with 40.8 left.
Gabriel Richard was forced to foul as Chelsea tried to run out the clock and Vasquez sank a pair at the line to make it 28-24. Richard missed and Kennedy grabbed the rebound and was fouled and sank a pair of free throws with 25.9 left to make it 30-24 and the lead would hold the rest of the way.
“I was happy with how we responded,” Blomquist said. “This time of year it doesn’t matter what it looks like, as long as you get it done. We will be happy with this and we will move on, one game at a time.”
Fullerton led the Bulldogs with eight points, while McCalla added six with the two big three-pointers. Vasquez finished with five points, Kennedy and Schultz four each, and Briana Hay one.
The win gave the improved the Bulldogs to 22-1 on the season. Chelsea’s matra this season had been “Make History”. The 22 wins is a school record for victories in a season, but they want more history to be made. A Chelsea girls’ team has never won a Regional title. They go into next weeks Regional at Adrian and will face River Rouge (12-6) Monday at 7:00 PM. The other semifinal is between Carleton Airport (22-1) and Dearborn Divine Child (13-9). The winners will play in the Regional Championship Wednesday at 7:00 PM.