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David's second-half surge helps Bears extend winning streak

By Bill Althaus
William Chrisman's Jacque David tries to maintain possession as she gets tangled with Truman defender Erynn Boatright in Thursday's game at Truman. David scored 11 of her 17 points in the fourth quarter to help the Bears stave off a challenge from the rival Patriots and claim a 44-33 win.

For one half of basketball Thursday night at Truman High School, the visiting William Chrisman Bears seemed to forget about senior Jacque David, whose presence in the paint is a big reason her team had won eight in a row and is undefeated in conference action.

“What did Jacque have in the first half – two points?” asked Bears coach Scott Schaefer, who addressed that issue at halftime.

His Bears listened and, more importantly, responded. David scored the first seven points of the third quarter – three layups and an and-one three-point play – to lead Chrisman to a 44-33 victory over a gritty rival Truman squad.

“We simply talked about doing a better job of getting the ball to Jacque,” Schaefer said after his Suburban Middle Six Conference-leading squad improved to 15-5 and 6-0 with its ninth straight win.

“Amanda (Szopinski) did a great job keeping us in the game in the first half, but we all knew we needed to get Jacque involved.”

William Chrisman point guard Amanda Szopinski (44) drives past Truman defender Erynn Boatright for a shot in Thursday's game at Truman. Szopinski scored 14 points and had some key assists in the second half to help the Bears to a 44-33 victory over their Noland Road rival.

Szopinski, who injured her left ankle in the second half, but got taped up and returned to the game, scored the last seven points of the first half to give the Bears a 22-17 lead at the intermission.

“Amanda was great the first half,” said David, who finished with a team-high 17 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter. “The girls did a great job getting me the ball in the second half.”

Szopinski, a senior point guard, nodded in agreement, as she finished with 14 points and had two of the three assists on David’s first three baskets in the third period.

“We didn’t forget about Jacque in the first half,” Szopinski said, “we just didn’t do a good job getting her the ball. Look, I like to score, it’s fun, but I have a lot more fun making a great pass that leads to an assist.

“Jacque made us all look good in the second half when we finally got her the ball.”

Truman's Taliyah Scott, left, and William Chrisman's Mele Taula battle for possession of the ball in Thursday's game at Truman. The Bears pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 44-33 win, their ninth straight.

While his Patriots team fell to 8-7 and 3-3, Truman coach Jimmy Page was thrilled with the effort of his young squad.

“The last time we played them, it was a blowout,” Page said, referring to the 65-35 loss on Jan. 28 in which Chrisman's Schaefer got his 600th career victory. “Jacque hit 10 of her first 11 shots and we didn’t have an answer for anything they did.

No. 600: Bears rout Patriots for Schaefer's milestone win

“But tonight, it was a close game for three quarters (Chrisman led just 29-27 going into the fourth quarter). It’s so tough to play against a great team like Chrisman and a great player like Jacque. We were able to keep her point total down for three quarters, but the girls just got exhausted.

“And Coach Schaefer is such a great coach, he took advantage of the mismatch inside. We lost, but it was a respectable game and another great game in this rivalry.”

Schaefer agreed.

“This place would have been full of fans if it weren’t for the social distancing. The fans who were here made some noise and had some fun watching a good game,” Schaefer said. “I’m just so thankful we are playing. It’s different, but we are playing.”

Sophomore guard Taliyah Scott kept the Patriots in the game with her accuracy outside as she finished with three 3-pointers and a game-high 18 points.

Truman's Taliyah Scott, right, tries to drive past William Chrisman defender Krysta McAllister in Thursday's game at Truman. The visiting Bears claimed their ninth straight win with a 44-33 victory.