Aldie, Va. — Entering the Boltball Holiday Invitational at 0-5, the John Champe High School girls basketball team was looking to use the holiday tournament to get on the right track. With three scorers in double figures—including a game-high 21 points from sophomore guard Caroleena Bryant—the Knights were able to notch their first win of the season, 54-27, over Rock Ridge on December 28 in Aldie.
“It’s important that you have multiple girls who can shoot the basketball,” John Champe head coach William Hatchett said. “You don’t want to become a one-dimensional team where other teams can coordinate on just one person. It’s best that we have a balanced scoring attack.”
On the offensive end, the Knights got contributions from their young backcourt including freshman guard Anika Badatala and sophomore guards Mya Townes, Aundrea Rivas, and Bryant. Bryant drilled five 3 pointers—including three in a dominating third quarter—while adding 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocked shots.
Rivas found a way to get to the line throughout the afternoon, and once Townes settled in, she was able to find lanes to get to the basket.
“We’re not afraid to go to the basket, but we just have to take what the defense is going to give us,” Hatchett said. “If they’re going to play off, we’ll shoot, and if they play up, we’ll drive.”
Having not played for a week and a half, it took John Champe some time to get rolling, but once the Knights started to see the ball fall through the basket, they settled in offensively and forced the issue defensively.
Their full-court pressure led to 37 turnovers as 8 different Knights recorded steals, leading to numerous transition buckets.
Even with their high-intensity defense, the Knights still had their hands full with Rock Ridge senior guard Sruthi Dacherla, who finished with 14 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 steals—including four 3 pointers.
“She’s a good shooter. She hit maybe four 3 pointers and a lot of them were contested,” Hatchett said. “When you have someone that’s a scorer, it’s kind of hard to keep that player down for 32 minutes. So going into the game, we kind of expected her to score, but we wanted to limit everybody else.”
Overall, John Champe was able to accomplish their goal of limiting the rest of the Phoenix squad as just senior forward Nadia Shanneb contributed much on the offensive end outside of Dacherla.
Dacherla and co. will look to get their first win of the season when Rock Ridge tangoes with Manassas Park on December 29 at 5 p.m. John Champe will look to add a second win when the Knights match up with host Lightridge at 7 p.m.
“The game plan is just to play hard, play good defense, and get out in transition,” Hatchett said.
John Champe Stats
Rock Ridge Stats