Still, they were by far the most successful of Bartow County's girls basketball teams followed by Adairsville, which made a late-season run and threatened to make a playoff statement.
The Lady Hurricanes (21-7) were challenged early -- opening with Model High, which reached the Elite 8 in AA -- and often in their sub-region, where they finished behind Allatoona, a member of this year's Elite 8 in AAA.
A No. 2 seeding usually positions the tougher basketball challenges until later in the playoffs, but that wasn't the case for Cartersville as the Lady Canes hosted a very spirited and talented squad from Oconee County out of Region 8B-AAA. The result was a disappointing 66-44 loss to a very tall and block-oriented opponent that lost the following week to the Columbia Eagles, who were making their drive to the state championship. Columbia should be a familiar name to Cartersville, since it was the Eagles who ended the Lady Canes' season in the Elite 8 a year ago.
Still, Cartersville earned 21 wins during the season, notching two more victories than during last year's highly successful season and providing Bartow County with a very entertaining and exciting brand of basketball.
Another team increasing its W's over the previous year was Adairsville, whose 8-17 record was significantly better than the previous year's 2-23 mark. The Lady Tigers won three of their final four games even though one of those victories was in their sub-region tournament and meant they had to beat regional foe Coosa a second consecutive game. Adairsville was up to that challenge but could not follow through against Pepperell the following night, falling 51-49 to the sub-region power.
Among Adairsville's region foes was Model, an Elite 8 squad.
Woodland and Cass also played an exciting style of basketball and appear to have made strides in their programs. They split their games against each other, a development that will keep their hardwood rivalries a lively topic of conversation for their fans in the future.
Woodland fielded a height-challenged team but slightly improved its victory total from a year ago to close with a 5-20 record.
Cass, also height-challenged, fashioned a 2-24 record. Also, a lot of their underclassmen earned significant playing time, a development that should benefit the Lady Colonels down the road, especially when the state's new classifications go into effect and provide them with foes closer in school population.
Also improving its win total was Excel Christian Academy, which went 4-20, up two wins from the previous year. The Lady Eagles also were more competitive throughout the season, hanging in games longer and finishing within striking distance at the end. Excel also made strides toward returning players more experienced when they resume hardwood play next season.
Following are members of The Daily Tribune News All-County Girls Basketball Team.
PG Kaelyn Irby, Cartersville. Irby, the county's most prolific scorer, set two school records while directing the most potent offense in Region 7B-AAA (62 points) as she provided the most assists, 210, and made the most 3-pointers, 61. The sophomore guard also tied another school record by hitting 8 3-pointers. Her season stats per game include 16.1 points, 7.5 assists, 5.9 rebounds and 3.6 steals. Among her highlights were two triple doubles in addition to seven double doubles.
"Kaelyn has tremendous floor vision and is a very unselfish player," Donna Enis, her coach, said. "She has great natural instincts on both offense and defense."
PF Adrienne Green, Cartersville. The Lady Cane averaged 10.9 points per game, with 8.2 rebounds and 1.2 steals. She turned in seven double doubles.
"Adrienne had a very good year and was a key in many of our victories," Enis said.
G Stefanie Will, Cartersville. Will averaged 9.4 points per game, 2.8 steals, 2.3 rebounds and 2 assists.
"Stefanie is a difference maker on the floor," Enis said. "She plays all out on both ends of the floor, which creates problems for the opposing team."
Katie O'Connor, Cartersville. O'Connor averaged 5.7 points per game, 6 rebounds and 1.2 steals.
"Katie did a great job this year," Enis said. "She is very versatile on the defensive end. She can guard players on both the outside as well as the inside and makes players change their shot."
SF Mallorie Collum, Adairsville. Collum averaged 10 points per game, 5 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, 1 steal. This was the second consecutive year she has torched the nets for more than 250 points.
SG Stephanie Kuhrt, Adairsville. Kuhrt scored an average of 8 points per game, 4 rebounds and 2 steals.
"She is our best all-around athlete who is our best on the ball defender," head coach Kent Howard said.
PG Lyrica Solomon, Woodland. Solomon, a two-year starter, scored an average of 6.9 points per game, 3.5 rebounds (tied for second on the team) with 31 assists (first on the team.)
G/F Kennedy Robinson, Woodland. Kennedy played guard and forward, leading the Lady Cats with 168 points and was second in rebounds with 80.
Excel Lady Eagles (4-20, 0-8) Region 6A-A
PG Walker Bell, Woodland. Bell averaged 8.9 points per game, had 2.1 rebounds, 1 assist, 1.4 steals. She is in the top three in total points scored during her career at Excel.
Post Emily Willingham, Woodland. Willingham averaged 8.6 points per game, 7.5 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.6 blocks.
SG Amber Bowen, Cass. Bowen averaged 7 points per game and 1.2 steals. "Amber was the leading scorer on team and was the focal point of other teams' defense on a nightly basis," Jamie Horton, her coach, said. "When other players went down with injury, she stepped up and filled [the] scoring void that was left."
SF Silken Solomon, Cass. Solomon averaged 4.0 points per game with 3.2 rebounds and 1.5 assists.
"Silken was the only senior on a roster of freshmen and sophomores," Horton said. "She played out of position and served as a leader for the younger girls on the team."
Honorable Mention: Jazmien Baldwin and D'Yasmine Richards of Cartersville; Cassidy Howren of Adairsville; Brooke Hummel, Ayrianna Metcalf, Casey Bucy, and Jessie Michaels of Woodland; Bekah Bell of Excel; Janee Callahan, Octavia Pendleton, Jasmine Estwick and Ashley Huskins of Cass.