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Mon., Jan. 7 - bobcat-girls-double-up-eagles-48-24
Bobcat girls double up Eagles, 48-24
© Gainesville TimesThis season likely will not be the one that finally disrobes the Stonewall Jackson varsity girls basketball team of its everlasting Cedar Run District crown.
Yet that does not mean Battlefield isn't vying for its second consecutive regional berth anyway.
On Friday night, the Bobcats doubled up Osbourn 48-24 at home in Haymarket to improve to 3-1 in the district and 9-5 overall.
A slow first quarter in which Battlefield outscored Osbourn 5-2 gave way to a much more explosive 13-11 second quarter, allowing Battlefield to hold a 18-13 lead at halftime.
Battlefield emerged as a new team in the second half, with sophomore guard Misha Jones taking charge.
Jones put up a game-high 18 points, hitting two 3-pointers and five field goals while making two of her four foul shots.
An additional 10 points from Taylor Baltimore helped neutralize Baily Dufrene's 12-point output from Osbourn that included the Eagles' only tripe of the night.
Battlefield, however, hit four shots from behind the arc, with senior Jessi Whaley (5 points) and junior Brianna Jones (3 points) each sinking one.
Meanwhile, Nikki Dyson (6 points), Jamie Armstrong (4 points) and Elisia Diggs (2 points) also helped pad the Bobcats' continuous lead throughout the game.
Dyson, a 6-foot-2 freshman, is assigned with helping to fill the gap left by Battlefield's former all-star Amber Lewis, who graduated last year.
So far, the rookie forward is playing at an advanced level, according to Battlefield head coach Eric McCaslin.
"She can play," he said.
According to Whaley, "She'll be right up there with Amber soon."
That's been a big bonus for the Bobcats at a time when the team has battled injuries throughout the season, including two players who sustained concussions.
According to McCaslin, that's meant some games have included only seven or eight available members on the team ready to go, limiting, the amount of time a starting player can catch her breath on the bench.
"Most games, everybody steps in and does something," said the coach, describing his players as a "very tight knit" group.
He considers Diggs to be one of his "premiere defenders" in that she's able to deflect screen set up with precision.
With senior Ashley Young out from injury, the senior guard Whaley is the "defacto captain" of the bunch, meaning she's taking on a leadership role, McCaslin said.
At the same time, he added that Jones is an "all-around versatile player," whose confidence has grown as has her leadership skills since her freshman year.
"I am kind of a nutcase, nutcase being I get too hard on myself if I mess up," said Jones, explaining how she's come around to learn from mistakes instead of fret about them.
"For one, I'm not the question person out there, so I've been told to use my angles... and play my own game," she added.
Teresa Wagner and Natalie Salter are charged with creating an outside game, something they've done handily this season from 3-point range as they've combined for 24 triples.
On Friday, Battlefield's defense only allowed Dufrene to put more than open court shot through the basket for Osbourn.
Senior guard Jacqueline Hockman hit one from the floor and also made all four of her foul shots to become the visiting team's second-best scorer.
Freshman Kailyn Coleman, sophomore Jessica McKeever and senior Allison Shomo each added one bucket.
Perhaps Battlefield's biggest accomplishment came from Baltimore keeping Dominique Newman scoreless for the night.
"We took their second leading scorer and held her to zero," said McCaslin.
At this point in the season, Battlefield controls its own destiny for claiming the second seed in the district tournament next month.
Yet there are still some short term goals left to accomplish before the Bobcats start gunning for the post-season, which is avenging a 16-point loss earlier this season against the Raiders.
"Right now, we're focused on Stonewall," said Whaley. "Our major focus is beating Stonewall."