Oconee’s 6-foot, 3-inch strong forward kept the Lady Purple Hurricanes away from their inside game with her shot-blocking skills and then poured in 25 points as the Lady Warriors (23-6) powered their way to a 66-44 victory at Cartersville’s gym Friday night.
Cartersville fell behind 12 points by the half and the Lady Warriors crushed the Lady Canes 20-4 in the third quarter to assume complete control.
“The Bevillard kid is really better than what they said in all the reports I got,” Cartersville head coach Donna Enis said. “She just took over the game I felt like, and they had some other kids step up and make some big shots.”
Cartersville (21-7) had some early trouble finding the net, not scoring until the 5:57 mark of the first quarter while the Warriors opened with 3-of-4 from close range and added a free throw on their way to a 7-2 lead, which would grow to 11-2.
Stefanie Will followed that score with two treys sandwiched around a bucket by Kaelyn Irby as Cartersville allowed a deuce by Oconee and pulled to 13-10.
Bevillard quickly answered with a bucket, and Oconee followed with its first trey and a bucket for a 20-10 lead. Adrienne Green hit a short jumper and Jazmine Baldwin closed scoring in the quarter at the charity line to pull the Lady Canes to 20-13.
Oconee maintained that 7-point lead until about mid-way in the second quarter when Green hit a short jumper that kissed the backboard to bring her team to 27-22 at the 4:27 mark. Oconee responded with a 13-6 run to close the quarter for a 40-28 lead at the break.
Cartersville hit 1-of-16 and went 2-of-4 from the foul line in the third quarter while Oconee squeezed 20 points out of the net to assume an overwhelming 60-32 lead.
In the final period, Cartersville made up some ground with a 12-6 run, accounting for the final 66-44 score.
Coach Enis said once Bevillard got her game going, Oconee was able to dictate things.
“When you’ve got the lead, you’ve got the advantage and you can sit there and slow it down,” she said, adding Cartersville simply did not play well from behind this night.
“They hit a lot of outside shots and we didn’t,” she said. “We hit a couple in the beginning, but that wasn’t enough.”
She said Bevillard’s performance forced the Lady Canes to try to win with outside shooting while Oconee was able to put up 40 points by halftime.
“Her reputation is she’s averaging over five blocks a game. It’s hard to go inside and so you have to count on your outside game. It’s gotta go for you.”
She said the Lady Canes weren’t able to do the things they had to win when relying on outside shooting.
“We weren’t getting any offensive rebounds,” she said. “When you have to shoot outside, you have to crash the boards. We emphasized that but it didn’t carry over. That’s a big key. If you have to depend on your outside shots, you have to depend on your offensive rebounds because your [shooting] percentage is always going to be lower. You got a team that’s throwing up points, you gotta be able to do something offensively to match them.”
Enis said Oconee won with a very good effort.
“Oconee’s a really good team. I would have thought they’d have been No. 1 in their region because they were all year. When you get beat by a team that you feel like is a good team, it’s easier to take than one that’s not.”
Kea Garnigan led the way for the Lady Canes with 13 points. Other contributors were Irby, 11, Stefanie Will, 9; Green, 8, and Baldwin, 3.
Morgan Meglio was another big gun for the Lady Warriors, chipping in 21 points.