The Lady Colonels trailed 43-32 to start the final quarter but started chipping away at the lead until they eventually pulled within three points, 46-43, with about four minutes remaining. About that time they lost their fourth key player to an injury this season, Rejiyah Burley, and Ringgold went on a 12-3 run and took the victory.
Head coach Jamie Horton took the loss in stride, noting the Lady Colonels have battled adversity all season and had no quit in them against Ridgeland.
“We had it right there tonight,” Horton said. “It seems like every time we get rolling, it’s been one thing after another. We lost Janee Callahan at the very beginning of the year. We lost Ashley Huskins. We lost Maddie Weeks. Then we lost Rejiyah Burley right at the end of today’s game.
“It’s been one thing after the other this year and I have to say our girls have persevered. They played hard until the last buzzer out there today. If you’d told me at the beginning of the year how it’d be and we’d still be in the ballgame, I’d probably have taken it. That’s a lot of kids to lose in one season. That’s three out of our four leading scorers, but it is what it is.”
The Lady Panthers scored the game’s first bucket but the Lady Colonels answered with a 10-footer by Hannah Kirkpatrick for a 2-all tie just over a minute into the game.
Ridgeland responded with two buckets and took a 6-2 lead, only to have Cass come back with a bucket by Burley and Kirkpatrick’s second basket, bringing about a 6-all tie.
A 7-0 run by Ridgeland gave the visitors a 13-6 lead that was interrupted by Camey Kirkland’s old-fashioned three-point play and the two teams closed the quarter with a 14-9 score.
Esmeralda Thomas buried a trey for Cass’s first points of the second quarter, kicking off a 7-2 run that knotted the score at 16-all with almost three minutes of the frame gone. However, Ridgeland answered with a 13-5 run and walked into the halftime dressing room with a 29-21 lead.
Jana Morning scored three of Cass High’s points in the frame with three coming from a trey by Lauren Womack and two supplied by Kirkpatrick.
Savanna Hutchins started the Lady Colonels’ scoring with a deuce in the third frame, followed by a 2-pointer by Kirkpatrick, two 2-pointers by Burley, and three more points by Hutchins, a total of 11. Ridgeland rang up 14 points in the frame, taking a 43-32 lead after three quarters of play.
Ridgeland outscored Cass, 15-14, in the final quarter, with Burley tallying four on foul shots before her injury. Imani Whitfield added a bucket, Wright dropped in three, Thomas added two and Hutchins tallied three.
Horton said despite the loss of so many players, the Lady Colonels worked hard to improve all season. “Overall, we got a lot better, especially playing in the region we’re playing in. We had some tough breaks, but that’s part of the game. Everybody has them.”
Burley scored 10 points for Cass and Kirkpatrick and Hutchins added eight points each.
Cass finished with an 11-15 record overall. They were 2-6 in their region.
Ringgold 46, Adairsville 42
Adairsville led early but was held to five points in the third quarter and came up short against Ringgold, 46-42, to close out its season with a loss in girls high school basketball action.
Stephanie Kuhrt scored 14 points to lead the Lady Tigers, who finished with a 13-11 record overall.
Adairsville opened with a pressing defense that yielded turnovers and frustrated early shooting attempts by Ringgold in the game played at Cartersville, tournament host.
Mallorie Collum started scoring for the Lady Tigers with a bucket at the 5:28 mark of the first quarter and added a free throw when she was fouled in the act of shooting for a 3-0 lead.
Ringgold answered with a foul shot, closing to 3-1.
Kuhrt dropped a trey on Ringgold almost two and a half minutes later, and Adairsville was up 6-1.
Paige Cole widened the lead to 8-1 with a bucket and Collum closed out scoring in the first quarter for Adairsville with a foul line contribution while Ringgold buried a 2-pointer that resulted in a 9-3 score after a full quarter of play.
Kuhrt contributed two treys and a 2-pointer to add eight points to Adairsville’s scoring in the second frame, as the Lady Tigers grabbed a 17-7 lead after Ringgold scored four points with a bucket and two foul shots.
Ringgold went on a 14-4 run to forge a 21-all tie going into the break. Victoria Davis and Cole tallied the Lady Tigers’ points during the run.
Ringgold opened the third frame with a 10-2 run, with Adairsville’s points coming from Collum. The Lady Tigers were guilty of four turnovers during the lapse. Kuhrt broke the drought with a 3-pointer with just over two minutes remaining in the period and Ringgold scored off a steal as the visitors held a 33-26 lead after three quarters of play.
Adairsville made a 13-8 run at Ringgold in the fourth quarter and closed to 41-39 after Collum hit a turnaround jumper deep in the paint and Kelsy Hice hit the second of two free throws with 59 seconds showing on the clock.
The visitors snuffed out Adairsville’s last hope with a 5-3 run.
Also contributing to the Adairsville cause were Collum, who dropped eight points; Davis, seven; and Hice, six.