Another home game could be advantageous for the Lady Purple Hurricanes should they be engaged once again in a seesaw contest similar to the one in their 78-74, first-round win Friday over Stone Mountain.
"Friday night was just an unbelievable atmosphere. Having the big crowd and having such a vocal crowd, I feel like our girls really fed off of that. I feel like that was key in our victory," said Cartersville coach Donna Enis, whose team hosts Chestatee today.
"To get to have the second round at home also is just tremendous because we've hosted first rounds before, but we've never been able to have that second round [at home]. I can't give our fans enough credit because they really pulled us through, and I'm hoping that they're gonna be here and we can make 'em proud again [tonight]."
The Lady Canes have to make a quick turnaround for tonight's game, with Monday being the lone day to practice for the Lady War Eagles.
"It's hard because you're looking at a completely different team than Stone Mountain. We had a week to prepare for Stone Mountain and now you're shifting gears and having to go [in a] completely different [direction] in one day," Enis said on Monday. "Luckily, we have done the things during the season that we're looking to do tomorrow, so it's just kind of a review, but you still got different personnel that you got to look at. It's really hard to kind of turn it around because you had the weekend, but you have to get your scouting reports, get your film review of 'em so you're basically down to one day."
"And then you have all the chaos of the weather and everything else," added the coach, whose office suffered some flooding Monday with a tornado watch in effect. "We'll just have to line it up and play."
The last time Cartersville had a short period of time to game plan for an opponent, the Lady Canes nearly upset No. 2-ranked Dalton, losing 54-51 Feb. 19 in the Region 7-AAAA championship game, although it was the third meeting between the two teams.
"Just like [in] that Dalton game, we had an hour before we left that we put the game plan in. The girls executed it to perfection, [did] everything I asked 'em to do and so I feel like they're going to do the same thing [today]," Enis said. "If I lay it out there and they understand it, I feel like they're going to execute. ... We're going to try to make a few adjustments, but we just got to play our game and go."
The Lady Canes worked on their press break Monday and worked on their defense, which will be tasked with stopping Chestatee's Peyton Robertson, a senior center who scored 20 points in her team's 36-29 upset of No. 1 seed LaGrange.
"They've got a really good post player. She's about 6-2, really solid. ... She's kind of their go-to player. We're gonna have to do a good job on her," Enis said of the Lady War Eagles' Robertson. "All their guards can shoot the 3. ... We're gonna have to pull rebounds. We can't sit back and let them shoot it. ... They're a really good team and so we're gonna have to really step up our defense and try to cause some problems for them with our defense."
Cartersville could help its own cause tonight with a quicker start than it had against Stone Mountain.
"We had the jitters really bad and it took us almost a quarter and a half to settle down," said Enis of the Lady Canes, who trailed 20-9 in the first quarter before carrying a 29-26 lead into halftime. "I hope maybe some of the nerves are gone. That would be huge."
"Friday, it was a big game, we got over our nerves and I think that we really learned a lot about ourselves -- kept our composure, battled back [and] had to dig [out] from a hole," she continued. "I was really proud of 'em because that was a different style from what we'd seen in awhile. They were just so tough and they were clutch. We had contributions from everybody that stepped on the floor."
Cartersville's ability to respond cannot be taken lightly considering that it boasts five freshmen on its roster and only one other player who has witnessed basketball at this time of the year.
"They're just getting such invaluable experience, to go from middle school to playing in the state tournament on the high school level," Enis said. "We're so young so everything is new. I think Carlee [Bragg] was the last one that had been to a state tournament, so this is all new for 'em, and I think that they're doing a really good job of handling it. They're so focused, and shoot, I'm just excited. I'm enjoying every minute of it."
The Lady Canes (17-11) tip off with Chestatee (23-5) today at 6 p.m. in The Storm Center.