The two teams were knotted at 28-all at the break.
“We challenged our girls at halftime to step up and play defense and keep [their opponent] in front of them and not give up 3s,” coach Cindy Moore said. “That was obviously the difference in the first half. We weren’t doing a good enough job playing team defense — we were worried about our girl not scoring and we weren’t helping when somebody did penetrate.”
Moore said the Lady Tigers took the game to Cartersville, especially in the first half.
“I give Adairsville credit. They came in here and played hard and played with a lot of confidence in the first half and hit those 3s and it got them some momentum and got us on our heels,” she said. “We certainly didn’t do what we needed to do defensively, but I think it was to their credit that anytime someone didn’t step up, their girl burned them.”
Cartersville got out of the chute a little quicker on the evening, scoring the game’s first five points on a layup by Kaelyn Irby — who led the team with 24 points — and a 3-pointer by Hallie Wachsmuth, but the Lady Tigers responded in kind with a 3-pointer by Julia Roberson and a bucket by Taylor Weeks to even the scoreboard lights at 5-all.
The Lady Tigers took their first lead of the contest on a shot by Mallorie Collum, grabbing a 7-6 lead with 3:14 remaining in the first quarter. The score at the end of the frame was 11-9 in favor of Adairsville.
Cartersville got hot early in the second quarter with Irby scoring a trey and a deuce followed by a trey by Stefanie Will — who scored 14 points — and buckets by Jazmine Baldwin and Wachsmuth for a 21-14 lead.
Adairsville did not help its case during that stretch by committing four consecutive turnovers and missing a layup. However, the Lady Tigers got hot themselves after withstanding the storm as Stephanie Kuhrt — who led the team with 14 points — sank a bucket to close to 21-16 and Roberson buried two treys to close to 24-22. Adairsville closed the half with a modest 6-4 run and the two teams were knotted at the break, 28-all.
Cartersville opened the third quarter with a 12-1 run and was up 40-29 at the 3:35 mark, with a lot of the damaged inflicted by Irby, who sank two 3-pointers and a deuce. The Lady Canes closed the third quarter with a 7-4 run to take a 47-33 lead, giving them a 19-5 run for the entire quarter and changing the complexion of the game.
The Lady Canes stretched their lead in the final period by scoring 19 points and allowing 10 by the Lady Tigers.
Moore said the Lady Tigers showed they are among the region powers with their performance.
“They’re a dangerous team and it’s going to be tough up at their place,” she said. “You’re always a few points better at home. We’re just fortunate that third quarter went our way.”
She cited Irby and Will both for their offensive and defensive play.
“I felt those two were the standouts, obviously, as far as the scoring, but they did a good job, too, of shutting down those 3s and stopping the easy baskets and open looks for Adairsville. That created some things for us. We got some stops and got out and that’s where we expanded the lead a little bit.”
Moore said Cartersville was glad to get the region win and said it will loom large as the season progresses.
“This region is going to be a lot tougher than people may have thought in the beginning. Being 2-1 in the region and knowing we’ve still got 11 region games left, any victory you can get is important. We’ll certainly take it and enjoy it tonight and then get to work and get ready for the [Rome News-Tribune Holiday] Tournament.
Cartersville improved its record to 3-2 overall, 2-1 in Region 5-AAA.
Cartersville next plays Tuesday when it takes on Armuchee in the holiday tournament. Tipoff is at 5:30 p.m. at Berry College.
Adairsville dropped to 3-5, 0-3 in the region. The Lady Tigers return to the hardwood on Monday when they play Trion in the holiday tournament. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. at Berry College.
Villa Rica 57, Woodland 25
Woodland fell behind early and Villa Rica added to its woes by outscoring the Lady Wildcats 19-5 in the second quarter and went on to claim a 57-25 victory in girls high school basketball action Friday night.
Villa Rica had grabbed a 14-8 lead after the first quarter and went up 33-13 at the midway point of the game.
Villa Rica tacked on a 19-9 run in the third quarter, and both teams played tighter defense in the final period, when the Lady Wildcats were outscored 5-3.
Kennedy Robinson was the leading scorer for Woodland, finding the nets for 10 points. Brooke Hummel and Carly Bucy both dropped in 4 points.
Brittany Wright led Villa Rica with 20 points.
At the free throw line, Woodland was 8-of-16. It was whistled for four personal fouls. Villa Rica was 3-of-3 at the charity stripe and its players were charged with 12 personal fouls.
Woodland slipped to 3-7 overall with the loss and is 2-4 in Region 5-AAAAA.
Woodland hosts Temple today with tipoff at 3 p.m. for the girls and 4:30 p.m. for the boys.
Woodland also plays Monday in the Rome News-Tribune Holiday Tournament. The Lady Wildcats will take on Coosa at 5:30 p.m. at Georgia Highlands.
Rockmart 50, Lady Eagles 36
Rockmart took a hard-earned victory in its rematch with the Excel Christian Academy Lady Eagles on Friday night.
The Lady Jackets outscored Excel 50-36 in the contest, the second of the season matching the two teams. Excel took the earlier game, 43-29.
The Lady Eagles are 3-6 overall on the season. They visit Mount Paran Christian today, with tipoff at 2:30 p.m.
They begin region play Jan. 4, when they host Christian Heritage.