© Old Gold Free Press Columnists
Chelsea Jones and the Fort Smith Southside Lady Rebels are off to a 5-3 start. Here's a game-by-game summary of the season heading into the Christmas break.
Fort Smith Southside vs. Ozark
The season opener for Southside showed the value of having a 6'4 post player. Opponent Ozark gave Southside the post and instead attempted to bury Southside from the outside. Ozark head coach Eric Nagel even gave the green light to the Ozark posts to shoot outside. A poor percentage doomed the game plan as Southside cruised to a 74-51 win. Chelsea Jones had 20 points in the first half, added two more points in the second before sitting most of the second half. She finished with 22 points and seven rebounds in just under 20 minutes of playing time.
Fort Smith Southside vs. St. Mary's
Southside (2-0) played catch-up during the first quarter, but then pulled away for an eventual 65-42 victory over St. Mary's. Southside used defensive pressure to turn the game, forcing 26 turnovers and holding St. Mary's to just five field goals in the final three quarters of play. Jones finished with 16 points and seven rebounds.
Fort Smith Southside at Alma
Chelsea Jones scored 14 points and grabbed five rebounds as Southside beat Alma, 50-15. Southside held Alma to one field goal in the first half. The Lady Rebels (3-0) ended the first half with a 29-2 scoring run.
Tournament of Champions (University of Arkansas-Fort Smith)
Fort Smith Southside went 1-2 in the 2007 Tournament of Champions December 6-8, winning their opener against Blue Valley North (KS) before a second round matchup with eventual tournament champ Hoover (AL) sent them into the consolation bracket.
Southside opened with a 77-70 overtime win over undefeated Blue Valley North (KS). Blue Valley North features an experienced, senior-laden squad, and took a 15-point lead into the third-quarter before Southside battled back to send the game into overtime. Southside ran away in overtime, outscoring Blue Valley North 13-6. Chelsea Jones had a game-high 27 points on 10-of-15 (.667) shooting from the field and 7-of-13 (.538) from the line. She also had nine boards (two offensive), three assists, two steals, and a block with no turnovers in the game.
Game two featured then 6-1 Hoover (AL), who brought a winning margin of 25 points per game into the TOC. Hoover defeated defending TOC champ Incarnate Word in their first game, and continued to roll with the 67-63 win over Southside in game two. Hoover's University of Arkansas signee Lyndsay Harris, a 5'9 wing, went nuts and set a record for three-pointers in a TOC game with seven. Her 39 points proved to be the difference, in a game where Southside fouled out two Hoover players and had three more on the ropes with four fouls each. Chelsea Jones led Southside with a double-double of 23 points and 11 rebounds, adding two assists and five blocked on 10-of-13 (.769) shooting from the field and 3-of-4 (.750) from the line. For the second straight game, Jones had no turnovers.
Southside met Arkansas 3A state runner-up Shiloh Christian in the consolation bracket Saturday, losing 68-52. Shiloh jumped out to a 14-2 start, and despite a run in the fourth quarter, could not recover. Jones did well against Shiloh's all-state senior post Chelsea Garrison, holding her to 2-of-11 shooting and saddling her with four fouls. Jones shot 12-of-14 from the free throw line and added 5-of-10 from the field for a 22-point performance. Jones added eight boards, two blocked shots and just one turnover.
Southside's record went to 5-3 after splitting a pair of games against Bixby and Claremore, after an ice storm initially cancelled a tournament set for earlier in the week featuring the two teams. Jones led all scorers with 22 points in the 55-48 win over Bixby. On the bench with foul trouble in the first half, Jones scored 18 of her points in the second half of the game. In the last game on Friday, Southside lost a close one to undefeated Claremore, 53-48. Southside used a third-quarter rally to take the lead, only to lose it again halfway through the fourth quarter. Jones had 19 points for Southside.
Through eight games, Jones is averaging 20.1 points per game.