CHILLICOTHE — Opposing coaches take note: do not leave Jasmine Eley open.
Saturday at Southeastern, Portsmouth’s senior guard hit early and often before closing the game out with another flurry of scores. Her game-high 26 points led the Trojans to a 45-37 victory over the Panthers, the team’s third win in the past week.
“I just took what the defense gave me,” Eley said. “At first, they tried to shut down my shot and then they started collapsing in as my teammates got open. They tried to keep me out of the middle but when they spread the defense out, it’s easier to get to the middle and get my teammates open.”
14 of Eley’s 26 points came in the first half, 12 of which came in the first quarter. She failed to score in the third but got back to her usual self in the fourth, dropping 10 in the final eight minutes.
“I’m just really proud of Jasmine,” Portsmouth coach Amy Hughes said. “She’s really come a long way. I’m proud of her work ethic and how hard she plays. She guards the other team’s best player, she gets rebounds, she gets assists … she doesn’t just shoot it all the time. But when she does shoot it, she’s making a high percentage at this point.”
Tale of the tape
Eley started the day’s scoring by hitting a 3 with 7:23 to go in the first quarter. However, Southeastern (3-8) proceeded to embark on an 8-3 run behind Cydney Huff and Sierra Mitten to take an early lead at the 2:51 mark and forcing Hughes to signal for a timeout.
Whatever she said worked.
Eley went on a 5-0 run by herself, tying the score, and then gave the Trojans (4-6) the lead with 6:41 left in the second at 11-10. She also got some help from Nia Trinidad, who hit a 3 with 4:46 to go in the first half before ending the quarter with another bucket, extending the lead to 19-13.
Portsmouth eventually took a 23-15 advantage into the break, but after Southeastern made adjustments at halftime, the Panthers came out firing in the third.
Macie Graves hit a 3 with 4:04 left, cutting the lead to 24-20 before Carissa Wheeler scored at the 1:58 mark, making it 26-24. After Portsmouth’s Hannah Hughes hit one of two free throws, making it 27-24, Lyndsey Skeens got a putback to go as the lead dwindled to one at 27-26 heading into the final eight-minute period.
That’s when Eley stepped up … again.
“I go into each game with a gameplan,” Eley said. “Defense first, then the offense will come. We had to start somewhere, which was on defense in the fourth quarter. We picked it up and it led to transition points.”
The senior hit a 3 with 7:36 left, making it 30-26, and scored again at the 2:42 mark, making it 41-32 capping off a 14-6 run. From there, the Trojans — who were 10-of-11 from the charity stripe — hit their foul shots and smothered icing on the cake.
Eley added eight rebounds and three assists to her 26 points while Hughes finished with nine points and seven boards. Trinidad ended with five point and a team-high nine rebounds, while Rickett also had nine rebounds. Ashanti Richardson also chipped in with four points.
For the Panthers, Huff led the way with 12 points, followed by Skeens with 10 and seven rebounds. Sierra Mitten also played well, scoring six and passing out two assists.
What’s on tap
After a three-win week — Whiteoak last Saturday, Manchester on Thursday and Southeastern — the Trojans will try and keep the ball rolling on Jan. 3, hosting Rock Hill in OVC action.
“Confidence. That’s what we need,” Hughes said. “The other girls sometimes hesitate to shoot. So I think just confidence shooting would be big. We get open looks so when that comes along, we could be in business.”
Portsmouth: 8-15-4-18 — 45
Southeastern: 11-4-11-11 — 37
Portsmouth: 15-47 FG, 10-11 FT, 5-14 3pt. (Eley 4), 37 rebounds (Rickett 9, Trinidad 9), 15 turnovers, 6 assists (Eley 3). Scoring: Eley 26, Hughes 9, Trinidad 5, Richardson 4, Rickett 1.
Southeastern: 17-53 FG, 0-2 FT, 3-11 3pt. (Huff 2), 29 rebounds (Skeens 7), 10 turnovers, 10 assists (Huff 3, Graves 3). Scoring: Huff 12, Skeens 10, Mitten 6, Wheeler 4, Graves 3, Higley 2.
Reach Derrick Webb at (740) 353-3101, ext. 1930, by email at email@example.com, or on Twitter at @dw1509.