The Aiken girls earned a big early lead against Josey before it got a 45-32 win Friday night at Laney in a semifinal of the Holiday Round Ball Classic. Aiken plays Laney at 6:30 tonight for the tournament championship.
“We survived,” Pompey said. “It was OK. We just got it under control, which is what you want to do when you’re playing three games back-to-back-to-back.”
The Lady Hornets, who won games on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday this week, were up by 25 points on Josey after three quarters, as they showed patience on offense and displayed a deadly transition game when the opportunity appeared.
Erin Gilmore was usually the finisher, scoring 18 points, as she made layups from speeding down the floor after steals and caught long passes that beat a slow-to-get-back Josey team.
At the same time, the Lady Eagles struggled to get going in each of the first three quarters.
Josey needed more than five minutes to score to start the game. In the second quarter, it went without a field goal for about three minutes. Finally, the Lady Eagles went scoreless for the opening four minutes in the third quarter.
The Lady Hornets padded the advantage in each quarter, with Maggie Odom hitting two big 3-pointers in the second period.
Working with a big gap, Aiken rested its key players for a chunk of the final eight minutes. That allowed Josey to finally get into a rhythm and outscore the Lady Hornets 14-2. Aiken, which had been good with keeping possession during its strong start, began to turn the ball over.
LaPorscha Wells was strong inside during Josey’s closing run, getting six of her team-best 13 points during the stretch. But the cushion was too large, meaning Aiken (9-2)can avenge an earlier loss to Laney this season.
“It’s the second time we’re playing them, so I expect us to come out and play hard,” Pompey said.