The Lady Canes led only briefly in the game, by a 5-4 score at the 5:33 mark of the first quarter. Half a minute later Sonoraville retook the lead and never relinquished it.
Sonoraville held its own rebounding and buried five long-distance shots to spread the court on a night when Cartersville failed to make a single 3-pointer, going 0-for-11 at that distance.
“My hat’s off to Sonoraville,” head Cartersville girls basketball coach Cindy Moore said. “They were the better team today. Looking at the complete body of work for the season, we were better the other two occasions we played. But tonight they had a good game plan. They forced us out of our comfort zone, and we had to hit some shots to make them come out of defense and we didn’t.”
The Lady Phoenix opened the game with two quick buckets for a 4-0 lead when Kimora McClinic hit a short jump shot and then Hallie Wachsmuth found the handle on a missed 3-point shot and put it back in to knot the game at 4-all. Wachsmuth, who was fouled on the play, then gave Cartersville its only lead of the night.
The Phoenix answered with two buckets to go ahead 8-5 and Maya Jones pulled her team to 8-7. Sonoraville sank its first 3-pointer and Cartersville a deuce to close out scoring in the first quarter, which ended with the visitors up 11-9.
Sonoraville used a 5-5 run to open the second frame and maintain its lead at 16-14. Then the Phoenix sank a bucket and two treys while Cartersville got two buckets — one by Morgan Jones and the second by Kaelyn Irby — and the visitors held a 24-16 lead. That lead grew to 10 points by the break, when Sonoraville was up 28-18.
Cartersville exploded for six unanswered points to start the third quarter, closing to 28-24, but Sonoraville responded with a trey and a bucket while allowing a deuce by Cartersville to retake their 10-point lead, 36-26. Cartersville closed the frame with an 8-6 run and trailed 42-34 after three full quarters of play.
Sonoraville opened the floodgates in the final period with 20 points — 10 of them from the charity line — while Cartersville could muster just 13 points to close scoring on the evening.
Cartersville hit just 20 of 75 shots from the floor, well below it’s normal performance.
“That’s not what we have been doing all year,” Moore said. “We had no one in double figures and they had four.”
The coach said Cartersville was unable to take advantage of its chance to get back in the game in the second half.
“When we hit those three baskets at the start of the third quarter and pulled to within four, I thought we were about to get our legs back under us, but then they hit those 3s and pushed the score back up to 10 points.
“But they are the defending region champs and we had to go through them to win it.”
Cartersville next plays on Saturday, when it hosts Dawson County at 6 p.m. at the Storm Center.
“I believe they played for the state championship last year. They have a quality program,” she said. “We’ll have a tough test on our hands.
“Now we need to get to work, watch some film and do what we can to prepare for them. Hopefully we’ll be able to take advantage of being at home and can hit some shots early and get some confidence.”
After Tuesday night’s game, Irby was named region player of the year and Morgan and Maya Jones were named to the all-region team. Stephanie Kuhrt of Adairsville also was selected to the team.
“Those are nice honors for our players and something to be proud of,” Moore said. “It’s nice recognition for what they have done for their team.”