Susan Crownover knows what her GPS basketball team can do at full force. She found out Wednesday what the Bruisers can do in a worst-case scenario.
Star guard Chadarryl Clay was confined to the bench after picking up her third foul with 4:57 remaining in the first half of a tighter-than-expected Best of Preps Tournament opener against East Hamilton. Ahead just 24-21, the Clay-less Bruisers ended the half on a 15-3 run on their way to a 71-45 win.
"I told the girls after the game that when Chadarryl got in foul trouble it was the first time I haven't had to turn right around and put her back in, and we increased the lead," Crownover said. "I hope that means we're maturing as a group."
Tory Kemp scored four quick points and Brianna Farris, inserted into Clay's point guard position, followed with a steal and layup and ended the half with back-to-back 3-pointers as GPS (11-1) took control going into halftime, 39-24.
"I knew I was the next one in line to be the point guard when Chadarryl went out, so I had to get my mind right," said Farris, who finished with 13 points, one of four Bruisers in double figures. "I had some early turnovers, but I thought I did pretty well when I had to take over. I mean, those are some pretty big shoes to fill, so I hope I did a good job."
Clay, who finished with a game-high 19 points, made up for lost time in the third period, scoring four straight and getting back-to-back assists on textbook drive-and-dish trips into the lane as the lead grew to 51-28 and never got any closer than 20 for the defending tournament champs.
Janeh Perry had 15 points and a team-high nine rebounds while Simone Busby added 13 points and eight rebounds for the winners. Tiffany Lewis, the focus of the GPS defense, still managed 13 points for East Hamilton (8-4).