Saturday, February 27th kicked off the 2021 Blackburn basketball season. The mens’ and womens’ teams both hosted Iowa Wesleyan in their season debuts. Although the women fell short, the men were victorious.
The women’s team had a slow start, falling behind 10-0 early in the first quarter. Slowly the Lady Beavers began to catch up and cut the lead due to a Callista Francis layup and Tailiyah Davis 3-pointer. The Beavers continued to turn up their defense with a pair of back-to-back steals. The Tigers were leading the Beavers, 19-18, at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter continued to stay tight, as both teams continued to battle. Jenna Dudra gave the Beavers their first lead of the game with a jump shot at minute 7:30, in the second quarter. The teams traded baskets throughout the quarter, going into halftime with a score of 38-35, with Blackburn down three.
At the beginning of the second half, both teams came out firing. Freshman Mariah Hopson began to play more confident in the post, which resulted in her leading the Beavers in scoring. Blackburn continued to fight back, cutting the lead to two on a Francis layup.
Down two going into the fourth quarter, Blackburn made an offensive run led by Courtnee Riley. The Beavers applied full court pressure in an attempt to stop the Tigers from scoring, but they were not successful. The Tigers pulled away with an 85-78 win.
On the men’s side, head coach Austin Kirby’s squad started off the game shooting well. Chanz Alridge started the game off with a deep 3-pointer, which got the team going. Shortly after, Javon Stovall made an easy layup, followed by another 3-pointer. The Tigers continued to keep it close, with a score of 12-12 midway through the first half. Junior David Lopez came off the bench and was immediately effective, scoring two layups and a 3-pointer. Mystikal Suggs came off the bench to finish a couple easy layups. The Beavers continued to find offense through Aldridge and Stovall throughout the half, resulting in a 40-26 lead at halftime.
The second half was easy sailing for the Beavers, as they continued to grow their lead by applying full court pressure, which transitioned into easy scoring opportunities. Stovall led the Beavers with 21 points followed closely by Chanz Aldridge who finished with 18. Freshmen Jarrius Burnett and Payton Krager also contributed to the big win over Iowa Wesleyan.
Both Blackburn teams look forward to Wednesday, March 3rd, when they face the Eureka Red Devils.