Chelsea opens girls basketball season with 48-30 win at Pioneer
Joseph Tobianski | AnnArbor.com
Over the years, Chelsea High School girls basketball coach Todd Blomquist’s teams have been required to play Pioneer in Southeastern Conference play, and haven’t enjoyed much success.
The two won't play each other in conference play this year, but scheduled a season-opening, non-conference game anyway. Blomquist's team dominated.
The Bulldogs never trailed the Pioneers in a dominant 48-30 season opening win.
“This is a tough place to play and we’ve traditionally not played well here,” Blomquist said. “I really liked how we came out defensively. Offensively, we didn’t hit on all cylinders, but we kind of hang our hat on our defense and rebounding.”
Pioneer (0-1) never got into an offensive rhythm, with a combination of poor shooting and turnovers plaguing them in the first half. They shot just 8 percent (2 of 24) from the floor and turned the ball over 22 times.
“I didn’t think they were forced turnovers,” Pioneer coach Crystal Westfield said. “I didn’t think that Chelsea was forcing us to throw the ball away. We were just throwing the ball away.”
With a 29-percent shooting performance in the first half (8 of 27), Chelsea wasn’t exactly shooting the lights out, but it was enough to build a sizable lead.
Chelsea’s Grace Martin led all scorers with 12 points while Mackenzie Cole and Grace Sauers each had 11. Jenny Fichera led Pioneer with 10 points
Chelsea (1-0) ended the second quarter on a 12-2 run, including six straight from Sauers, and took a 23-10 lead into half.
It would get better for Chelsea and worse for Pioneer after the break as Chelsea started the third quarter with a 13-0 run. Cole scored seven of her points in the frame including a 3-pointer, which gave Chelsea a 35-10 lead.
“That was definitely our best stretch of both playing offense and defense of the whole game,” Blomquist said. “We want to take those stretches and make them longer where we’re efficient on the offensive end and pretty tenacious defensively.”
Pioneer, meanwhile went 0 for 12 from the field during the stretch with seven turnovers and didn’t get its first points of the quarter until the 1:46 mark.
Pioneer chipped away at the lead with its best quarter of the night coming in the fourth. Sophomore guard Emily Turner scored all eight of her points in the frame on 4 of 7 shooting.
Westfield believes more quarters like the fourth will come when her offense figures out how to slow the game down.
“We’re fast but we don’t know how to control it yet. We don’t know how to slow it down for offense,” she said. “We’re just really young in experience right now.”