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GIRLS BASKETBALL NOTEPAD: In-shape Chargers wearing out rivals

The Chancellor girls basketball team is brimming with confidence at this early point of the season.

The Chargers are 4–1 (2–0 in Conference 22), with their lone loss coming on the road against reigning Region I, Division 4 champion Grafton. Because of better conditioning, they’re running their full-court press defense with much better precision this season.

The early results have been impressive, so much so that head coach William Griffin thinks his team can give area power and cross-county rival Courtland a run for its money tonight when the teams square off at Chancellor.

“When we come out and play our ‘A’ game, I don’t think there’s anybody in this conference that’s going to beat us,” Griffin said. “Friday night we’re going to prove it with Courtland. I know they’re undefeated, but they’ve got to beat us.”

Courtland has a new coach, Laura Gast, and a roster that saw a lot of turnover from last season’s state runner-up squad, but the Cougars haven’t missed a beat at the start of the season with a 5–0 record (4–0 in Conference 22) before Thursday’s game at Eastern View.

Tonight’s matchup could be a good test for both teams. Griffin thinks his squad matches up well with the Cougars.

“What it’s going to take to beat those guys is for us to bring our ‘A’ game,” Griffin said. “They will not be able to bring the ball up the floor. I will almost guarantee that, and I don’t usually guarantee anything.”

The Chargers rely on quick guards Emily Green, Rachon Harrison and Jayla Harris to pressure the ball and score in their transition offense. Harris returned to the team this season after missing all of last year with a knee injury.

And Chancellor has a low post presence in Sydney Jackson, who has recorded a double–double (points and rebounds) in three of the team’s five games.

Chancellor’s full-court press, inspired by the VCU men’s basketball team’s Havoc style of defensive play, has been much improved through the early part of this season. Griffin said his team made a commitment to conditioning in the offseason and the results have been telling.

“These young ladies are really running hard in practice,” Griffin said. “They will probably tell you I’m crazy because we do a lot of running.”

The Chargers are hoping to contend for the conference championship and make a run in the postseason after back-to-back 11–13 seasons. They’ll find out how close they are to reaching those goals tonight against Courtland.

Nathan Warters