Maya Jones had a double-double, brushing the nets for 17 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, earning her an all-tournament accolade and leading the Lady Purple Hurricanes to their first victory of the season and a third-place tournament finish.
“We did a lot good of things tonight and we had a lot of effort by the team,” head coach Cindy Moore said after the game. “We’ve been pushing our girls to apply pressure on the court during the preseason and it paid off for us tonight.
“We had a lot of opportunities to score off our pressure, both full and halfcourt. We ran the court very well and anytime they didn’t get back, something good happened for us.”
She said point guard Kaelyn Irby also had a big hand in the victory by distributing the ball to the Lady Canes so they could take advantage of the turnovers they caused with easy looks at the basket.
Moore said Cartersville had lost the previous night by turning the ball over a lot.
“It was good to see the kind of Kae we’re used to seeing as far as hanging on to the ball and creating scoring opportunities with her passing tonight,” the coach said. “Anytime she gets in the open court something really positive happens for us because she’s such a great distributor of the ball.
“The kids ran the court really well and were rewarded and our other point guards were doing the same thing with ball distribution. It was a good win.”
She praised Jones’ performance also, saying it was a good start for the senior forward.
Freshman Kimora McClinic also was in double figures, scoring 11 points in the victory.
“It was a really balanced performance and everyone contributed,” she said.
The win improved Cartersville’s record to 1-1 on the season, the first loss coming on the first night of the tournament to host River Ridge, 50-27.
Coach Moore said the Lady Canes were challenged defensively by River Ridge, which plays in Region 7A-AAAA, but didn’t respond as they needed to.
“We were close at halftime but we had an awful third quarter,” she said.
Still, she said, the Lady Canes took a step toward improving.
“River Ridge is one of the top teams in their region and it was a good first game for us,” she said.
The Lady Canes return to the basketball court Saturday when they play Rome at 3 p.m.
“This will be our home opener and we hope we have a good turnout,” Moore said.
The game against Rome, which plays in Region 5A-AAAAA, will be the second time the Lady Canes have stepped up in classifications this season.
“I wanted to get our feet wet a little earlier through tough competition,” she said. “We are trying to play non-region teams with a good history of being competitive. You have to play good teams to get better.”