The Cartersville girls basketball team got an important win Monday night at the Storm Center.
The Lady Canes broke an 11-game losing streak with their 47-26 victory over LaFayette and, as a result, are happy to get out of the funk as the region tournament approaches.
“It was finally the end to a bad streak,” Cartersville head coach Cindy Moore said. “I’m proud of the win, proud to win at home, a region game and all that goes with it.”
LaFayette led early and took a 10-6 lead over Cartersville into the second quarter as the Lady Ramblers’ Jada Allmon had six points in the opening period. However, the Lady Canes’ defense would turn up for the rest of the game, allowing Allmon just one point the rest of the way and allowing just 16 points to LaFayette in the last three quarters.
“I’m proud of the effort. Defensively, we were intense when we needed to be,” Moore said. “We made a couple of adjustments. We went to a zone, and that really kept them from being able to penetrate and get to the foul line, which I think is one of the things they try to do.
“The press hurt them a little bit. We played everybody. We got some breakaways and we got some transition baskets because of playing everybody. We have to because we’re going to be playing six games in the next week with this schedule.”
Cartersville took the lead for good in the second quarter on baskets by Chloe Davis, Kimora McClinic, London Shaw and a 3-pointer by Madison McKinney.
“I thought Madison, offensively, did some good things,” Moore said. “I thought Ka’ia Bolton did a good job on defense, and just all-out effort and hustle. She’s our lone senior, and she really gets after it and creates some intensity for everybody else because she does get after it so hard.”
McKinney then scored five of her game-high 15 in the third quarter to help Cartersville take a 31-18 lead into the fourth quarter. Cartersville would cruise from there for the win.
“Second half, we only had five turnovers, which, for us, was huge because we’ve been missing easy ones and turning the ball over too much,” Moore said. “We still didn’t take care of missing the shots, but taking care of the basketball is something we have to do to even give ourselves a chance to compete.”
In addition to McKinney’s 15 points, McClinic scored eight, Shaw had seven and Davis scored six for the Lady Canes.
“Chloe Davis and London Shaw both did a good job off the bench and gave us a spark,” Moore said. “Monica [Motuba] gets after it defensively and creates some stuff with her athleticism. In a press, she can do so much as far as pressure the ball or pick off a pass that maybe is not as strongly thrown.”
With the regular season winding down, the Lady Canes are hoping to go into the region tournament playing their best basketball. They currently sit at 4-15 overall and 2-8 in Region 7-AAAA. Cartersville will return to action today at Gilmer.
“I feel like, when we put four quarters together, we can really compete with anybody in our region,” Moore said. “That’s why you play the games, regardless of what anybody’s record is at this point. We want to finish out strong going into this region tournament.”
LaFayette 61, Cartersville boys 51
The Cartersville boys basketball team is in the midst of an important week of region games, including a game Friday at Heritage, Catoosa, which the Canes are competing with for the No. 1 seed in the Region 7-AAAA tournament.
The week got off to an inauspicious beginning Monday at the Storm Center as the Canes lost by a score of 61-51 to the No. 6 team in the region, LaFayette.
“We got kicked in the head tonight, so hopefully, we bounce back,” Cartersville head coach Mike Tobin said. “The guys see you can’t just show up and expect to win games. You have to get after it. I thought LaFayette got after it and we didn’t.”
Cartersville trailed early and never fully recovered from LaFayette taking a seven-point lead at the end of the first quarter. The Ramblers contained Cartersville’s offense with a 3-2 zone, and the Canes scored just 17 first-half points and trailed by seven at halftime. One of the reasons for the lack of scoring was 13 first-half turnovers. The Canes also shot just 33 percent from the field in the first two quarters.
“Turnovers killed us,” Tobin said. “They were the aggressors. I thought we were passive. We didn’t shoot the ball well. Bottom line, they beat us.”
While Cartersville’s offense was struggling, LaFayette’s Tyrese Hunter was able to penetrate the lane and score off of dribble handoffs. He had 15 points in the first half and finished with 24.
“[Hunter] destroyed us off penetration,” Tobin said. “That’s been our Achilles heel. We work on it like crazy in practice, not letting one guy split two, and we’re constantly doing that. The games that we’ve lost — I look at Woodstock, Southeast [Whitfield] gave us a tough game — it’s because they were splitting us all the time.”
Cartersville did cut the lead down to three points entering the fourth quarter, though, thanks to a quick 5-0 run on a drive by Cortney Cooley and a 3-pointer by Jaylon Pugh to end the third. Still, the Canes were never out of the game with their biggest deficit being 11.
In the end, LaFayette was able to hold on in the fourth quarter, going a perfect 5-of-5 from the field and 12-for-18 from the free throw line in the final eight minutes.
Cartersville had its open looks late in the game to cut the lead, but could not hit enough shots to complete the comeback.
“It’s like I told the guys after the game, the thing that killed us was turnovers and we didn’t shoot the ball real well,” Tobin said. “It was weird. We were real passive. Instead of just playing, we were thinking too much.”
Jaylon Pugh and Cade Archer led the scoring for Cartersville with 11 each, while Pugh chipped in four rebounds, four assists and four steals. Travon Davis added seven points and nine rebounds.
Despite the loss, Cartersville is near the top of the region standings, only trailing Heritage by one-half game. The Canes are 13-6 overall and 9-2 in region play. They will face Gilmer today on the road.
“We play again right away,” Tobin said. “The biggest thing is we want to be playing well in the region tournament.”