Purple Hurricanes head coach Donna Enis then worked in many members of her squad while wearing down the Lady Raiders, a member of Region 5-AAAA.
The Lady Canes (1-0) also applied a full-court press to start the second half and reaped immediate dividends on the strength of a 6-0 run to surge from a 23-21 halftime lead to a 29-21 advantage of East Paulding (1-2). They maintained that lead or better the rest of the way.
"We have more depth and some quickness this year and were able to run the press," Enis said. "We didn't have that last year and weren't able to run it effectively. We've been working on it and hopefully this is something that will work for us this year."
Enis said the Lady Canes' depth also allowed her to throw different lineups at the Lady Raiders.
"Just about every combination we tried worked," she said. "I felt like this was a total team effort."
She also cited the work by her freshmen -- Kaelyn Irby, Stefanie Will and Katie O'Connor -- in winning the team's opening game.
"I was really proud of our effort tonight," she said.
The Lady Canes, who are in Region 7B-AAA, trailed early in the contest as East Paulding scored the game's first bucket and, after it was matched by Cartersville, used a 3-pointer to go up 5-3 halfway into the first period. From there, the Lady Canes went on an 8-5 run to close the first period with a 13-8 lead. Eleven of those first 13 points for Cartersville were scored by Irby, the aspiring freshman thief who frustrated East Paulding into turnovers while parting several balls from their handlers and converting them into easy layups.
Cartersville started the second period with a 6-2 run and managed a 19-10 lead after Lyndsay Jones hit two free throws at the 5:50 mark. But the Lady Raiders responded with a 11-4 run and closed the half trailing 23-21 after outscoring the home team 13-10 in the frame.
The Purple Hurricanes trotted out their full-court press in the second half and sank 6 quick points against none to seize a 29-21 lead. The Lady Canes then helped their case with two steals, a turnover and several rushed shots as they began taking command of the game.
Two quick steals by Kea Garnigan -- who tallied three for the period -- and the Lady Canes maintained that lead through three periods, at 38-30.
Paulding's press forced two quick turnovers against one it surrendered and got a bucket almost a minute into the final period. Cartersville responded with a rush as Garnigan burned the nets for a 3-pointer, Irby laid in a deuce and Jazmine Baldwin followed with two foul shots, and just like that Cartersville had a comfortable 46-32 margin with 5:35 remaining in the game.
East Paulding had closed the differential to 9 points by game's end.
Irby was the leading scorer for Cartersville with 19 points, followed by Baldwin and Garnigan, with 8 points each; Adrianne Green, 7; Carlee Bragg, 4; Lyndsey Jones, 3; and Katie O'Connor and Will, 2 each.
Cartersville was up 13-8, 23-21, 38-30 and 53-44 at the end of the quarters.
Cartersville returns to the hardwood Friday when it hosts Dalton.