"When it's the Cass-Cartersville game, anything can happen," Cartersville coach Donna Enis said. "At halftime, I told 'em, 'No lead is safe against Cass. We gotta play like we're 10 points down.'"
Instead, it was Cass who embodied that sense of urgency in the third quarter when the Lady Colonels played with more intensity than the Lady Canes, Enis acknowledged.
"I think that was the difference, they made some adjustments and we didn't really adjust," the longtime Cartersville coach said.
Trailing by 13 points to start the third quarter, Cass's point guard Silken Soloman fired a top-of-the-key pass to Tyshika Jackson, who hit the layup.
Amber Bowen nailed a 3-pointer on the Lady Colonels' next possession, and Jackson grabbed a rebound and pulled up for a jump shot in the lane to complete a 7-0 run.
Cass's coach, Jamie Horton, noted some defensive and offensive changes to start the second half.
"We made a decision (at halftime) that we wanted to go to a halfcourt trap," said Horton, who added that a change to his team's offensive set led to that initial third-quarter basket by Jackson.
The Lady Colonels entered the fourth quarter down 40-32.
The Lady Canes managed to extend their lead to nine points early in the fourth quarter, but Cass continued to battle for the comeback.
Octavia Pendleton, Jackson and Soloman then hit consecutive baskets for the Lady Colonels -- including Jackson's three-point play opportunity -- to pull within 44-41.
Things, however, began to take a turn toward Cartersville's side as Adrienne Green grabbed an offensive rebound, scored the hoop and was fouled.
After missing her free-throw attempt, Green again headed to the charity stripe with a three-point chance following Carlee Bragg's offensive rebound and assist.
She missed this free throw, too, but the Lady Canes led 48-41.
Carla Clemmons gave Cass its own three-point play -- adding the free throw to boot -- when she corralled Julia Nuebert's pass to the post, spun to the middle and converted the basket.
Following Clemmons' made free throw, the Lady Colonels trailed 48-45 with 3:01 left in the game.
On Cartersville's next possession, Clemmons fouled out while trying to contest Green's shot after another offensive rebound by the Lady Cane.
Cartersville went on to close the game on a 10-1 run.
"We didn't ever really get in sync. ... I felt like we hit a few foul shots and got a couple of steals," Enis said of her team's play down the stretch. "We got some pressure up front and got some steals."
Horton, whose team had to dig itself out of an early hole, may have tired toward the game's end, among other things.
"We got into some foul trouble," he said, as the team also lost Soloman to fouls. "We kind of ran out of gas at the 2:30 mark, the three-minute mark.
"It kind of hurt us."
Jackson and Clemmons led the Lady Colonels with 9 points each, while the Lady Canes were paced by Kaelyn Irby's 22 points, not to mention 13 from Green.
Cartersville began the game down 2-0 following a basket by Clemmons, but the Lady Canes closed the first quarter with 14 straight points to take a 12-point lead.
That lead reached 14 points halfway through the second quarter, and Cass found itself behind 30-17 after two quarters.
Horton said his Lady Colonels showed growth Saturday.
"We're a real young team, and we're still trying to find ourselves," he said. "The one thing we can control is how hard we play.
"If we play the rest of the season like we did that second half, we'll win a few ball games."
Despite the win, the Lady Canes also will search for areas to improve.
"We've got a lot of people that can play and we've gotta get our (player) combinations (right)," Enis said. "We've gotta work on in-game adjustments."
Cass (1-3) opens up Region 7-AAAA play Friday vs. Sequoyah and Cartersville (2-1) hosts Southeast Whitfield Tuesday.
The Lady Canes dropped a home game to Dalton Friday night, 71-61, despite 29 points from Irby. No other Cartersville player reached double figures, though Stefanie Will and Bragg each added 8 points.
The Lady Catamounts were led in scoring by 6-foot-6 center Quaneisha McCurty, who had a team-high 21 points. Teammate Brooke Thomas scored 16.
Dalton led 22-15 after the first quarter and withstood a 9-point second quarter from Irby to take a 43-27 lead into halftime.
Amanda Rector's basket toward the end of the third quarter put the Lady Cats up 57-44 with the fourth quarter remaining, and the Lady Canes never could get the deficit under 10 points during the final eight minutes.