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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Knights get team effort against JM

There’s something to be said for a team’s star player who knows how and when to involve their fellow teammates.

In Spotsylvania’s 63–53 win over James Monroe on Friday night, Kortni Simmons did just that.

“That’s one thing that’s unique about Kortni,” Spotsylvania assistant coach Claude Tyler said. “She could easily be all about herself, but she’s not. She knows when to do it and when not to.

“Kortni is going to draw so much attention. The key is we hit some shots tonight. Nights when they’re not falling, that’s when it gets difficult.”

The Knights improved to 4–0 in Conference 27 play, the last unbeaten team in the league. Spotsylvania can finish no worse than tied with James Monroe in the conference standings. Both teams have one conference game remaining (Culpeper for Spotsylvania; Kettle Run for James Monroe).

The Conference 27 winner clinches the top seed in the conference tournament, but not a 3A–East tournament bid.

On Friday, Simmons scored 25 points, and was involved in a majority of the Knights’ other scoring plays, too. Jaimee Ford was often on the receiving end of Simmons’ generosity, finishing with 13 points. Ford simply stated, “I know she can get it to me.”

Another seemingly key piece of the Knights’ offense is Makayla Baker. She hit four of the team’s six 3–pointers, including three in the second quarter as Spotsylvania built a halftime lead.

“Percentage-wise,” Tyler said, “Baker is probably one of our best shooters.”

Spotsylvania held a five-point lead at the start of the third quarter but James Monroe came out firing and managed to cut the Knights’ advantage to 35–32.

Shatia Johnson scored on a dish from Simmons and the Knights never looked back, going on an 11–0 run over a four-minute stretch, until Monica Dit broke the drought for the Yellow Jackets.

Dit finished with 17 points for the Yellow Jackets, who had a different game plan going into Friday’s matchup, after a 50–35 loss to the Knights in December.

“This game we were just playing,” James Monroe coach Don Joy said. “Last time we paid too much attention to [Simmons] and the girls got caught up and the other girls hurt us. Tonight we tried to play them more straight up. We just wanted to play basketball and if she beat us, she beat us.”

It’s been more than just stopping Simmons that’s been a hurdle for the Yellow Jackets. This winter’s up-and-down weather has cost James Monroe some games, and lots of practices.

Joy said that’s put JM behind the eight ball.

“Snow days are killing us,” he said. “We can’t get any continuity.”

Still, the Jackets’ first-year coach remains confident about his team come conference time.

“If we play together, I think we can be all right,” he said.

Spotsylvania plays at Chancellor on Tuesday, while James Monroe hosts Kettle Run today.

 

 

Spotsylvania 15 18 20 10 — 63

JM 12 12 12 17 — 53

Scoring

Spotsylvania (9–4, 4–0): Makayla Baker 12, Courtney Chmielewski 2, Jamie Ford 13, Ashlynn Green 7, Shatia Johnson 4, Chelsey McCabe 0, Kortni Simmons 25. Totals: 24 9-15 63.

James Monroe (5–7, 3–1): Monica Dit 17, Darion Holmes 5, Cara Lambert 4, Jazmyn Moore 4, Brianne Stephenson 9, Brittany Williams 14. Totals: 18 14-22 53.

Three-point goals: Spotsylvania 6 (M. Baker 4, J. Ford, K. Simmons). James Monroe 3 (B. Stephenson, B. Williams 2).

Gabby Buehrle: 540-374-5045

gbuehrle@freelancestar.com

 

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