That win sets up a 6 p.m. Tuesday matchup with Cartersville hosting Chestatee (23-5, 9-1 in Region 8A-AAA). The War Eagles are the No. 4 seed in Region 8 but finished the regular season tops in their region.
"We got down in a hole early, when we had the jitters," Lady Cane coach Donna Enis said. "The last three minutes of the second quarter we kind of got back in our groove."
The Lady Pirates opened with a 3-pointer of their own on their way to a 9-1 run that quieted the Cartersville members of the 1,000-member crowd until the 4:40 mark of the initial quarter.
The quiet time ended, however, when freshman Kaelyn Irby buried a 3-pointer to jolt the Cartersville backers into a noisy following. A 2-pointer by Adrienne Green, who led the team with 24 points -- closed the game to 9-6 before the Lady Pirates went up 11-6 by adding another bucket. Irby answered with a 2-pointer but Stone Mountain silenced the crowd with another 3-pointer, two free throws and their third trey of the early evening to go up 19-9. Yet another free throw stretched their lead to 20-9 -- an 11-point difference -- which they maintained until the end of the quarter.
The Lady Canes got the first bucket of the second frame, a 2-pointer by Katie O'Connor that kissed the backboard and closed within 9. The Lady Pirates grabbed another 11-point lead, at 22-11, and Cartersville fought back to 22-15 at the 4:25 mark before Stone Mountain answered, for a 24-15 lead.
The Lady Canes' Kea Garnigan then sank three foul shots -- courtesy of a foul as she attempted a 3-pointer -- and Cartersville was at 24-18. Garnigan added a trey to Stone Mountain's bucket and Cartersville was within five, at 26-21. Jazmine Baldwin rebounded a Cartersville shot and tossed it in to move her team to 26-23, with 46 seconds left in the half.
Stefanie Will brought Cartersville to 26-25 with a bucket, then hit a 3-pointer and a free throw -- assessed when she was knocked down as she buried the trey -- giving the home team that had trailed for 19 minutes and 41.1 seconds of the game the lead at 29-26, a margin it carried into the locker room.
Barely 45 seconds into the second half, however, Stone Mountain knotted the game at 29-all. Irby responded with another trey, rocking the crowd yet again as the Lady Canes went up 32-29.
The two teams swapped the lead like it was gum the next two minutes, at the end of which time it was 38-all. Garnigan shoved Cartersville into the lead with a bucket at the 4:31 mark in the third quarter and the Lady Canes held it for almost a quarter, until the 4:58 mark of the final period when the scoreboard showed both with 59 points. The teams next were knotted at 63-all when Green put Cartersville ahead to stay by grabbing an offensive rebound and putting it back in for a 65-63 score with 3:27 left.
Cartersville had stretched that lead to 69-65 lead when Baldwin missed two consecutive shots under the bucket but sank her third try from point blank range, for a 71-65 lead that provided some breathing room.
Green, Will and Carlee Bragg sealed the deal by swishing the charity nets 7-of-10 times in the game's final 37.4 seconds, ensuring the victory while scoring Cartersville's final points of the evening.
Enis credited the win to the team's effort and playing Carterville's game, particularly in the paint area.
"These kids play with heart and they are a coach's dream. Whatever you ask of them, they do it," the coach said. "I told them at half time we have the best post players in the state and let's make sure we use them. They did."
She singled out Green's play in the face of adversity. "She twisted her ankle in the first quarter but she's our rock and she came back for us. She's just so steady."
The coach also noted Baldwin working hard to get the rebounds when she missed two shots in a row in the paint before making the third. "We worked on that 30 minutes a day, just rebounding and keeping on throwing it up there. In that one series, all that work really paid off for us.
"I tell the girls sometimes we have to play inspired ball and tonight there were times when we just played just inspired ball," she said.
Enis said the home crowd was a factor, too.
"I don't have any totals, but we had a huge crowd and the fans were so into the game," she said. "It really pulled us up and our girls were excited to play in that kind of atmosphere.
"That's the kind of atmosphere you want to play in."
The win improved Cartersville's overall record to 18-11, 9-3 in Region 7B-AAA.
Also contributing points were Will, 8; O'Connor, 5; Garnigan, 12; Irby, 14; Bragg 7; Baldwin, 8.