Also burning some serious net were Hallie Wachsmuth and Kaelyn Irby, who contributed 15 and 13 points, respectively, to the road victory.
Head coach Cindy Moore said the win was sweet for Cartersville and the Lady Canes showed only a few ill-effects from a basketball layoff fueled by a bitter arctic blast that has played havoc with much of the country and especially Georgia since Tuesday, blanketing roads with snow and sending the mercury plunging to single-digits.
Moore said McClinic’s performance has been a welcome boost for Cartersville, which has played its season without Stefanie Will, one of the team’s sharpshooters as well as defensive stalwart the past three years.
She said McClinic is part of the team’s answer to filling the void of not having Will on the court.
“That’s probably the thing, not having Stephanie this year,” Moore said. “She was one of the huge weapons we had, with her as an outside threat. I do think Kimora and Hallie are both feeling a lot more comfortable, but especially Kimora going down the stretch, last week and then with region tournament after that, that’s going to be huge for us.”
The victory improved Cartersville’s overall record to 18-3 and it is 11-0 in Region 5B-AAA.
Just as important, Moore said, the game is giving her team a chance to keep improving as it closes out play in its regular season with hopes of an extended playoff season, too.
Although Cartersville claimed a 17-point victory on the road Friday night, it was not as easy as it looked, especially early against Gordon Central, 8-13 overall and 4-7 in the region.
Cartersville scored first on a McClinic deuce but the Lady Warriors quickly knotted the score at 2-all about half a minute into the contest.
Gordon Central scored the next bucket but it was Cartersville’s turn to knot the score with a two-pointer by Morgan Jones and then Irby boosted her team up, 6-4.
A 6-6 tie was then broken by McClinic and Maya Jones tacked on a second-chance bucket for a 10-6 lead. A 3-pointer by Irby pushed the Lady Canes up 13-6 but Gordon Central answered with a 7-2 run and Cartersville held a slim lead, 15-13, after one period of play.
The Lady Canes opened the second frame with a 4-3 run, going up 19-16 on buckets by Irby and Wachsmuth against a 3-pointer by Gordon Central’s Ashley Farrell. That was as close as the Lady Warriors would get the rest of the way as Cartersville fired up its scoring jets while clamping down on Gordon Central’s offensive weaponry, using a 16-5 run to gain a 35-21 lead by halftime. The second frame was Cartersville’s most dominating as it outscored its host 20-8.
Cartersville continued adding to its lead in the third quarter, starting with a 5-0 run to go out in front 40-21.
The Lady Warriors kept Cartersville in sight with a 10-9 run the rest of the frame that left the visitors up 50-30 after three quarters of play.
Gordon Central responded with a 13-10 run in the final quarter to close out scoring.
Moore gave the Lady Canes high marks for the performance after the wintry layoff.
“We challenged them a little bit before the game because we have so many seniors and [our team’s] got to start realizing how valuable every minute you’re on the floor is to your career,” Moore said. “I thought we did some good things in the first half. I was overall pleased.
“I think we gave up some open 3s that we didn’t need to, but we did all right defensively. We didn’t turn the ball over. We did a good job on the boards.
“The second half we were able to extend a little and maintain, which, after not playing three days, I’ll take that. Anytime you can get a double-digit lead and increase on it all four quarters, that is something to build on.”
Cartersville returns to the hardwood Tuesday, when it hosts Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe in a 6 p.m. game.
It visits Coahulla Creek on Wednesday for a 6 p.m. game and then hosts North Murray on Friday in a 7 p.m. game.