HAMPSTEAD – It is a good bet that over the course of his coaching career Topsail High School girls’ basketball Coach Jim Clanahan experienced what took place on Tuesday night in Hampstead before, the hope being that the long-time boys’ coach was on the giving end rather than the receiving end as he was last night.
It’s hard to envision exactly what Clanahan learned about his team after the thrashing they received at the hands of the Lady Screaming Eagles but he was still upbeat and optimistic after the game.
Breanna Edwards and Felicity Havens led the Lady Screaming Eagles with 18 and 14 points, respectively, and the Lady Pirates turned the ball over an astronomical 32 times as Ashley rolled to a 56-19 win over Topsail on Tuesday in the non-conference season opener for both teams at Topsail.
Not only did the Lady Pirates (0-1) have trouble with the Ashley pressure to the tune of nine first-quarter turnovers, they simply could not find the bottom of the net from a shooting standpoint as they managed just one first-period point on a free throw by senior Mindi White with 1:31 remaining in the opening stanza.
“I anticipated it wouldn’t be easy,” Clanahan said. “Being new to the area I didn’t know too much about them but people did say they were usually a good team. “We just didn’t handle their pressure even though we worked on handling full-court pressure in practice. We also shot an abysmal 3-for-18 from the free-throw line, and we definitely have to improve there.
“But I definitely saw some positive things. We rebounded the ball well (Topsail had a 37-30 edge on the boards), and some kids stepped up and showed they are ready to compete at this level. We are a very young team (three seniors) and we have to work on developing some continuity and we have to learn to play better together. We’ve only had about 10 practices so we’ll go back to work and work our way through it.”
Edwards could come in and work with the Topsail girls on their free-throw shooting as she basically put on a clinic from the charity stripe with a 9-for-10 effort that included a perfect 6-for-6 in the first period en route to nine points in the opening eight minutes.
Havens added six points in the quarter to offset the single digit put up on the scoreboard by the Lady Pirates, and the rout was on. Ashley kept up the pressure in the second quarter and the Topsail girls responded to it poorly by turning the ball over an additional six times (15 in the first half) as the Lady Screaming Eagles outscored their hosts 9-7 for a 27-8 halftime advantage.
The Lady Pirates remained cold from the field and managed just three points in the third period – all by sophomore Kayla Hyatt – against 11 by Ashley as the deficit mounted to 33 (44-11) after three periods.
Topsail turned the ball over nine times in the third quarter and eight more times in the final eight minutes of the game but they did find some scoring in final quarter with senior Carlie Smith – playing varsity basketball for the first time in her athletic career – scoring four points and junior Chandler Skipper adding another four points.
Skipper, Smith, Hyatt, and freshman Amberly Wolf each finished with four points to collectively lead the Lady Pirates in scoring, and Hyatt (13 rebounds), Smith (8), and Wolf (5) did a good job in the rebounding area.
Topsail stays home for their next two games, and three of their next four, before taking the journey to Wilmington for a rematch with the Screaming Eagles on Dec. 14.
The Lady Cardinals of Jacksonville come to Hampstead next Wednesday (Nov. 28), and the Pender Lady Patriots visit the eastern side of the county on Friday (Nov. 30). Topsail then has a home-and-home series with Trask (in Rocky Point on Dec. 4 and in Hampstead on Dec. 11) before seeing Edwards, Havens, and their teammates on Dec. 14.
Topsail 1-7- 3- 8=19
Ashley: Breanna Edwards 4 9-10 18, Braelyn Little 4 0-0 8, Ingrid Jackson 0 1-2 1, Felicity Havens 7 0-0 14, Jada Bacchos 1 3-4 5, Jasmine Corbett 2 1-3 5, Morgan Davis 1 1-2 3, Taylor Davis 1 0-0 2. Totals: 20 15-21 56. 3-Point Baskets: Breanna Edwards 1.
Topsail: Keri White 0 0-4 0, Chandler Skipper 2 0-0 4, Mindi White 1 1-3 3, Kayla Hyatt 1 2-6 4, Carlie Smith 2 0-0 4, Amberly Wolf 2 0-5 4. Totals: 8 3-18-19. 3-Point Baskets: None.