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CHS girls show their mettle in hard-fought wins

The Wolfpack played their second game of the 18th annual Wolfpack Classic Girls’ Basketball Tournament Wednesday night against the Chaffey Tigers of Ontario.

In a fast-paced, physical game, the Pack built a 9-point halftime lead and never looked back winning 48-37. Coach Darryl Kennedy had much to say about the girls’ hustle. “I am happy we are able to play man-to-man defense successfully; we showed big effort today.”

Coming off a solid 42-30 victory Tuesday night against Ontario Christian, Claremont’s morale was high going into the second game of the home tournament. Highlights included a run-down block by point guard Jessica Abrolat after Chaffey’s Elyanna Rios had sliced through the lane. Shooting guard Katie Porter hit a 3-point field goal with a minute in the quarter left to make it 14-11.

In the 2nd quarter, the Wolfpack began to assert their dominance on the boards. Power forwards Kegee Limbe and Ashley Shoemake each had big offensive rebounds and put backs, while Porter hit a tough running shot from the outside. Claremont tightened up defensively, with Chaffey going 5 minutes without a bucket.

In the second half, Chaffey guards Rios and Whitney Huyser picked up the pace. Claremont, however, kept their man-to-man shape and forced Chaffey into low-percentage shots from the outside. Abrolat had another stuff defensively, and sprinted down the court to finish the resulting fast break opportunity with a reverse layup. Kennedy was happy with Abrolat’s breakout performance. “Jessica played great today, and the team came together around her.”

By the beginning of the 4th quarter, Chaffey was mostly unable to convert opportunities for extra possessions as Claremont filled the statistics sheet with key blocks and rebounds. “We need to work on our end-of-game focus, too many turnovers in big moments for me,” said Coach Kennedy.

With 2 minutes left and Chaffey knocking on the proverbial door, Claremont got a lifeline when senior Heather Hill corralled a rebound and laid the ball in off glass.

Chaffey came back after each defensive possession and launched 3-pointers, with only a couple going in. After the Tigers’ Rios missed another 3-point attempt, Abrolat cut inside, made a circus shot, was fouled, and made the subsequent free throw. At this point, the Wolfpack had taken the sting out of Chaffey, and Claremont closed out the clock to ensure the 48-37 win. The Wolfpack now possess a 3-1 record of the young season.

Claremont finishes out the tournament’s opening round with a late game against the 2-2 Walnut Mustangs, who are coming off a tough one-point loss last week.

The Wolfpack is hopeful to get a berth in the tournament final, and scores from the late games will be in our next print and online editions. Claremont plays in the San Dimas Tournament beginning Monday, December 10.

—Chris Oakley

sports@claremont-courier.com

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