High School Girls Basketball:
Thursday, February 4, 1999
By Art Redd
This game had been marked on several calendars since the previous meeting of these two playoff bound teams. The rematch between Rancocas Valley Red Devils and the Willingboro Chimeras occurred Thursday night at Willingboro High School. Rancocas Valley had defeated Willingboro 47-43 in the game at RV. These Burlington County League Liberty Division opponents met for their final time of the regular season in a battle for the top of the division. The Lady Chimeras trailed most of this game but saw an opening to steal a victory from Rancocas Valley at home, 57-45.
The Lady Red Devils established their game early by jumping out to 12-4 lead in the first quarter. Their game plan of working the ball in the paint worked well as they got the ball to Khalilah Smith. Now trailing, Willingboro pulled within 3 when Lakeesha Langston and Brandee Moses each scored to end the quarter and bring their team to a 13-10 lead.
Rancocas Valley (14-2) continued to lead Willingboro (14-3) throughout the second quarter. While this quarter showed the Red Devils still in the lead, they would have foul problems with their leading scorer Smith. Hope Larkins got in the game for Smith and continued to work the middle. Her basket and the foul late in the quarter put the Red Devils up 24-17. The half ended with Rancocas holding a 26-20 lead.
As the second half started, the Lady Chimeras began to work their game of penetrating to the hoop without Smith in the middle. Kellie Rice's basket with 2:57 remaining in the quarter got Willingboro within one point, 30-29, which forced Coach Denine Brown to call a timeout for the Red Devils. After that timeout, Jill Baldwin scored on a nice pass from Rosado to give Rancocas some breathing room. But the Lady Chimeras began to pressure the ball and forced turnovers to get back in this game. Carlisha Sherman forced a turnover and Rice scored on an assist from Sheree Brown to tie the game at 34 all. Langston's basket ended the third quarter scoring and gave Willingboro a 37-34 lead to pick up the home crowd.
Smith returned for Rancocas Valley in the final quarter. Now both Smith and Rosado in foul trouble, Willingboro got busy on the offensive boards and turned up the defensive pressure. Rice's 3-pointer and two consecutive baskets gave Willingboro a 45-38 edge with 4:39 remaining in the game. The Lady Chimeras began working the clock and forced the Red Devils to foul to stop the clock. But the clock wound down because of the fouls on Rosado and Smith and Willingboro went on to the victory. Kellie Rice finished with a game high 19 points, Sherri Brown had 17 and Lakeesha Langston finished with 13 points for Willingboro. Kecia Rosado had a team high 10 points for Rancocas Valley.
Photos by Art Redd
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