DOVER — Strawberry Crest coach La’Tosha Lewis said she has preached maturity and discipline early this season. Monday, with the Chargers hosting district opponent Tampa Bay Tech, it showed the coach’s words are paying off.
Strawberry Crest pulled out to an early lead and held off a very strong Titans team 64-51, despite having to make an adjustment as leading scorer and senior Aliya Gregory was saddled with three first-quarter fouls.
“I coach them to be mature,” Lewis said. “To let them know how to play through adversity early, just because you have three fouls doesn’t mean you can’t play aggressively. You just have to be smart.”
The foul trouble didn’t slow Gregory down considerably as the Central Florida commit finished with 16 points. However, the game turned on the aggressive play of the Chargers’ defense and a big night from juniors Maiya Trigg and Nandi Jorden, who each finished with 17 points.
Jorden also did a good job under the basket, blocking six shots and grabbing seven rebounds. But she had to contend with the physical play of Titans 6-foot-2 senior Brianna Thomas, who was the night’s leading scorer with 19 points, including 15 in the second half.
“When we started the game, I wasn’t really focused on her because I don’t just see one person on the court,” Jorden said. “Then when my coach said that was my man, I decided to go get it. I knew she wasn’t going to give me the win, so I wasn’t going to give her the win.”
The Titans struggled to control the ball late in the second quarter, falling into an 18-point hole at halftime. Trigg said the Chargers knew they were not simply going to coast to a win, but she admitted it did take a little more nudging from Lewis on the sideline.
“We have a tendency to let up on teams,” Trigg said, “All it takes is that one time for her to yell and we snapped back in.”
Shakela Smith finished with 13, while Chyna Lindsay had 10 in the loss for the Titans.
In the boys game, the Chargers topped TBT 70-39 behind 18 points from seniors Austin Griffin and Gerard Samuel. The Titans were led by Tajee Fullwood, who finished with 15 points.