Cartersville coach Donna Enis expressed disappointment in her team’s atypical play.
“We just didn’t play like we typically play, with a lot of effort and a lot of heart,” Enis said. “Rome kind of outplayed us. I felt like we didn’t do a good job on the boards … They were getting the loose balls and we weren’t.”
After drawing to within 37-30 on Kea Garnigan’s 3-pointer in the third quarter, the Lady Canes — who trailed 40-30 after three quarters — watched Rome rebuild its lead, including a game-high lead at 53-36.
“They’re the most athletic team we’ve played and that was a lot of [the] difference,” Enis said. That athleticism, she noted, hurt Cartersville in its halfcourt offense. “They forced us into some turnovers in the halfcourt game that teams hadn’t done to us before. Their athleticism was different than what we’ve seen before.”
The Lady Canes handled the Lady Wolves’ athleticism and full-court pressure reasonably well in the first quarter, forcing Rome to abandon that defensive strategy by the start of the second.
Cartersville shook off an early 7-2 deficit and briefly took a 12-9 lead before ending the first tied with the Lady Wolves at 14-all.
Rome scored 10 of the second quarter’s first 12 points to surge ahead 24-16, but the Lady Canes’ back-to-back field goals from Adrienne Green to left the halftime margin at four, 24-20.
The Lady Wolves again got the lead to eight points to begin the second half — 33-25 — and Cartersville nipped at that deficit but could never fully get back into the ballgame.
“We couldn’t hit the shots we needed to hit. We missed some layups [and] we didn’t hit many outside shots,” Enis said. “We gotta get our confidence back and be able to hit those shots against the good teams.”
Scorers for the Lady Canes were Garnigan, 11; Jazmien Baldwin, 8; Kaelyn Irby, 8; Green, 6; Katie O’Connor, 4; Maya Jones, 2; and Stefanie Will, 2.
Rome was led, scoring-wise, by Vanessa Calhoun, 16, and Astri Dupree, 11.
Despite the defeat, Enis acknowledged that she would rather get a feel for where her team is at this juncture in the season, even if it means a loss.
“I’d much rather play a good team and take a loss than [to] play three teams we can beat easily,” she said. “We had a big win on Friday and tonight was a big disappointment, but I feel like it’s a measuring stick and we gotta be able to bounce back.”
“We’re playing a lot of young kids that’ve got to work their way through and feel their way through,” Enis continued. “We’re trying to get better for region play.”
With the loss, Cartersville falls to the loser’s bracket where it will face the winner of the Trion-Woodland matchup. The Lady Canes’ game tonight begins at 5:30 p.m. at Berry College.