May 20, 2018
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  • Brooke Worrell leads the county in scoring at over 24 points per game.
    Photo by Colin Murphy
    Brooke Worrell leads the county in scoring at over 24 points per game.

Chesapeake Girls Are Growing Together, Building Momentum Toward Playoffs

Colin Murphy
View Bio
January 24, 2018

It’s been a remarkable run of success over the past three years for the Chesapeake girls basketball program, and the Cougars are intent on continuing the program’s rise this season.

At 9-5 through January 19, the Cougars have performed well against an always-stout county and out-of-conference slate. Despite the graduation of top post players Mikaela Gray and Hallie Persell and reserve Kara Blanchard, the Cougars returned a solid core of players looking to write a new chapter of Chesapeake success.

“This is a different team from last year and years past,” said fourth-year head coach Maria Gray. “What’s neat about this group is the team chemistry that’s been developing. We’ve had some tough tests. We look at those as challenges to help us build as the season goes. As long as we keep that momentum, they’re working hard, they get along great, and that translates onto the court.”

PHOTO GALLERY: Chesapeake girls basketball vs. South River, 1.18.18


A 4-0 start helped the Cougars cross into 2018 with a 5-3 record, and the Cougars kicked off the new year with wins over Northeast and Arundel. Against the Wildcats on January 3, Brooke Worrell’s game-high 29 points paced a 70-31 Cougar rout, and Worrell also racked up 14 rebounds and five steals. Haley Downin racked up 18 points to go with four steals and three assists, and she became something of a viral sensation in the process, scoring three of her points on a 60-foot buzzer beater to end the third quarter. A clip of the play was uploaded online, and national prep sports game-film platform Hudl tweeted the clip to its 250,000 followers. Corrine Castle (11 points, 11 rebounds), Ashley Chew (eight points, five steals) and Summer Smith (five steals, three assists) all had strong outings in the victory.

The Cougars took it to rival Northeast on January 5, winning 77-22 behind efforts from Downin (20 points, six rebounds, five assists), Worrell (18 points, 12 rebounds), Chew (12 points, five assists), Karlie Stracke (six points, seven rebounds), Morgan Gray (eight rebounds), Kiersten Blanchard (six rebounds), Kaitlin Phares (six rebounds) and Summer Smith (six rebounds, three assists). Laura Skorobatsch led the Eagles with eight points and six rebounds, and Mackenzie Coburn had four points and five rebounds in Northeast’s loss.

A 49-38 loss to an up-and-coming Severna Park team on January 9 temporarily slowed Chesapeake, but the Cougars viewed the setback as an opportunity. Three days later, they produced perhaps their best game of the season in a 59-42 win over a quality Meade team.

“We had an off night against Severna Park, and credit to them, they took advantage of it and played a great game,” said Gray. “That was a pivotal moment for us. We could recover, or we could dig ourselves into a hole, and we just came out with a statement [win over Meade]. We got ourselves together, our defense, our intensity. I think it was not only a good rebound game, but a good indication of what we’re capable of.”

Worrell had another big night against the Mustangs, pouring in 25 points on 11-of-20 shooting to go with 13 rebounds.

Worrell, the reigning Player of the Year in Anne Arundel County as chosen by the county coaches, surpassed 1,000 points for her career last season and is now over 1,300 for her career, close to the school scoring record set by Amanda Spinnenweber (the exact figure for Spinnenweber’s record was not available at press time).

Worrell was matter-of-fact about her scoring prowess over the years.

“My team supports me,” she said. “I feel like everyone supports me. I’m just able to get to the rack and score. It’s just what I like to do, what I love to do, so it’s natural.”

She agreed that the victory over Meade showed the Cougars are capable of achieving at a high level, which they hope to parlay into success come playoff time.

“We’ve got to grow together because we lost two post players from last year and brought two up from JV this year,” said Worrell. “They really are improving, and we’re improving as a team. The Meade game we really came out and played together as a team. Everybody showed up, no one was lacking, and we all just played our game. … Our goal is to get better, improve our defense in practice and in games, and we want to win states.”

PHOTO GALLERY: Chesapeake girls basketball vs. South River, 1.18.18


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