Van Deerman Classic: Jacksonville girls rebound from last year's title-game loss
by Chris Brown
Special to The Star
Dec 21, 2013 | 1978 views |  0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jacksonville's Destiny Easley shoots over Ashville's Hannah Ashley. (Photo by Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star)
Jacksonville's Destiny Easley shoots over Ashville's Hannah Ashley. (Photo by Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star)
The Jacksonville Lady Golden Eagles finished first in their own Christmas tournament, the Van Deerman Classic, by defeating the Ashville Bulldogs 62-44 in Saturday's finals.

The victory marks a rebound for the Golden Eagles after losing last year to Gadsden City in the championship game.

“Last year, Gadsden City was a really good team,” Jacksonville coach Ryan Chambless said. “It means a lot to win your own Christmas tournament, and you feel like you should.”

Jacksonville rode a 9-0 run in the closing minutes of the second quarter, extending their lead to 35-22 going into halftime. The Golden Eagles were carried by their defense throughout the game. It showed in the third quarter when they held Ashville scoreless for the first 2:41 of the period.

“This is our third game in three days, and I thought we were a little tired, but I thought we got out there a hustled pretty good,” Chambless said. “So I’m proud of them hustling and playing hard.”

Point guard Angel Kidd finished with a game-high 19 points. Dasia Kirksey added a quiet 18 points along with seven rebounds. Destiny Easley chipped in six points and pulled down 10 rebounds. Darrien Martin finished with nine points.

Ashville found most of its production from Anika Bothwell, who finished with a double-double — 12 points and 15 rebounds. Chatara Stoudmire added 10 points of her own, while Hannah Ashley chipped in eight points and 11 rebounds.

Jacksonville didn’t struggle without key contributor Virginia Poe, who missed the game because of a club soccer match.

“We have a bunch of girls sick, and the biggest thing that impresses me about the group I have, whether we are sick or injuries, is they show up and play hard,” said Chambless.

Despite winning their tournament, Chambless isn’t satisfied: “When you get right down to it, these are just games, and we’re trying to improve. The ones you want to win are in February”.

Pell City 32, Piedmont 28: In the consolation game of the girls’ bracket, the Piedmont Lady Bulldogs were unable to stop the Pell City Lady Panthers from pulling away late.

Bre Green led Piedmont with 14 points, while Jakieya Mitchell chipped in with six points.

For the Panthers, Lauren Hulnic scored 12 points. Kaylon Millandan and Ashantee Wade added six points each.

Piedmont outscored Pell City 16-12 in the second half.
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