Tatnall 39, Wilmington Friends 37 - Saturday, February10
This past Saturday morning the Hornets welcomed conference foe and tough opponent, Wilmington Friends. Every year, regardless of records or success, the Quakers and Hornets always battle it out as both teams know each other and their playing style very well. This game was no different.
It was a game of runs throughout with Tatnall using patience and ball movement against the Quakers' packed in two-three zone. The Hornets knew it would take some good outside shooting to pull out the victory. After a cold shooting first quarter and down 9-6, the Hornets picked up the pace in the second quarter, ignited by a pair of three pointers by Erica Hager ’19. Seeing the ball go through the hoop helped Tatnall pick up the intensity on the defensive end, holding Friends' to five second quarter points. Tatnall held a five-point lead, 19-14 going into halftime.
The second half was back and forth with each team clinging to small leads as both teams answered each other's runs with big shots and clutch plays. With less than a minute left, Tatnall found themselves down by one and needing a basket after a big three by Friends'. Slowed a bit by the zone, Tatnall took their time and found Shelby Bailey-Smiley ’18 at the foul line. She attacked the basket and was fouled. Bailey-Smiley was able to knock down one free throw to tie the game with 17 seconds left. After calling a timeout to set up a play, the Quakers' pass was stolen by Bailey-Smiley and pitched ahead to Kennedy Brown ’18 with eight seconds on the clock. With no hesitation, Brown headed up court looking to attack the basket when a Friends' defender reached in and knocked Brown down going for the ball. In a 1-and-1 situation with only three seconds left, the senior captain calmly stepped to the line and knocked down both free throws to give the Hornets a hard earned victory.
Erica Hager ’19 led the Hornets with 15 points on five threes, including a clutch three from the corner to give Tatnall the lead with under two minutes left. Senior Shelby Bailey-Smiley converted several big baskets inside and finished with 13 points. Senior point guard Brown was patient throughout, distributing the ball and scoring clutch baskets, including the game winning free throws, and finished with eight points. Aryana Easterling ’19 rounded out the scoring with three points, including another clutch basket in the fourth quarter with Friends' going on a run of their own.
It was a great team victory that got the Hornets back to their winning ways and improving their record to 12-4 overall on the season.
Tatnall 45, St. Andrews 28 - Tuesday, February 13
On Senior Night the girls basketball team welcomed conference foe St. Andrews to the Hive in front of a very loud and supportive crowd. With many on hand to watch the Hornets and support the winter sport senior athletes, it was a great environment.
Playing against the Saints' 2-3 zone, the Hornets were patient offensively in the first half using ball movement, knocking down a few jump shots, and feeding Shelby Bailey-Smiley ’18 on the inside. Tatnall was also able to convert a few Saint turnovers into easy baskets as Tatnall led 13-7 after the first quarter.
The Saints answered with a strong offensive output in the second quarter with some tough contested jump shots. The zone stymied the Hornets a bit on the offensive end. A couple of offensive rebound put backs by senior Kennedy Brown ’18 allowed the Hornets to hold onto a one-point lead at the half, 19-18.
After making a few defensive adjustments, Tatnall's offense came alive in the third quarter, led by Kennedy Brown ’18. She knocked down three three-pointers of her own against the two-three zone on her way to 13 third quarter points to extend Tatnall's lead to 11 points after three quarters. Aryana Easterling ’19 and Erica Hager ’19 as well as Alexa O'Neil ’18 also knocked down key baskets to give Tatnall a fourth quarter cushion.
After knocking down four three-pointers, the Saints zone defense had to stretch farther out to contest shooters. This allowed senior Shelby Bailey-Smiley’18 to operate in the middle of the zone, creating scoring chances for herself and teammates when the defense collapsed on her on the inside. The Hornets were able to win comfortably going away, 45-28, as they also tightened things up on the defensive end holding the Saints to a mere 10 second-half points.
It was a great team effort led by senior Kennedy Brown ’18 with a very efficient 20 points. Aryana Easterling ’19 and Erica Hager ’19 provided a nice shooting touch from the outside scoring 11 and 7 points respectively. Bailey-Smiley finished with five points, several big rebounds, and several assists as well setting up teammates. Alexa O'Neil ’18 rounded out the scoring with two points.
With three games left on the schedule the Hornets' record sits at 13-4 overall. Tatnall plays at Brandywine this Thursday at 3:30pm. Next week the Hornets travel to Archmere on February 19th at 6:30pm, followed by their last regular season game at home on Wednesday, February 21st against Wilmington Christian.
The entire girls basketball program would like to mention how proud we are of our four seniors, Shelby Bailey-Smiley, Kennedy Brown, Kashari Henry, and Alexa O'Neil. All four seniors have been four-year varsity players and their dedication and commitment to the girls basketball program and its' success is remarkable.