Cass defeats Lady ’Cats; Excel falls late on road
by David Royal
Dec 15, 2013 | 623 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Woodland stole the ball from Cass with seven seconds left only to have the Colonels’ Jana Morning return the favor four seconds later and thwart any chance they had of winning on a last-second shot as Cass took their game, 41-38, in girls high school basketball Saturday night.

Morning was fouled just after her thievery and buried two foul shots to close the contest, which saw three lead changes in the final quarter.

Woodland led throughout most of the first half and had carried a 23-15 lead into the halftime locker room.

Cass came back to tie the game at 30-all when Morning hit a 2-pointer and a foul shot with 14 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

The teams stayed close to start the final period but Cass took the lead for good on a bucket by Rejiyah Burley at the 3:58 mark.

Cass head coach Jamie Horton praised the effort by the Lady Colonels against their cross-county rivals.

“We made a couple of errors right there at the end of the game, and the girls kept playing through them,” Horton said. “We told them during a timeout to block it out; we had to finish the game and we were still up one [point]. That’s what they did and my hat’s off to them. They forgot about the mistake we made at the end of the game and finished out with a win and that’s what you like to see.”

Woodland coach Kyle Morgan said turnovers and the play of the Lady Colonels turned the game in the favor of Cass.

“The three games we’ve lost, we’ve lost the battle of the turnovers and that was true tonight,” Morgan said. “We turned it over too much down the stretch. To [the Lady Colonels’] credit, they were the ones forcing those turnovers.”

Woodland scored first on the evening, on a free throw by Marissa Dubose. Cass’s Kelsey Wright gave the Lady Colonels their first lead on a 3-pointer. Woodland surged back into the lead with an 11-4 run and held a 12-7 lead after a full quarter of play. Six of Woodland’s points came at the charity stripe while Burley and Ashley Huskins each sank a 2-pointer to account for Cass’s points.

Woodland opened the second quarter with an 11-1 run and surged out to a 23-8 lead at the 3:53 mark of the frame. Cass responded with a 7-0 run and trailed by just eight at halftime.

Cass opened the third quarter with an 8-2 run and trailed just 25-23 after Burley sank a bucket and a free throw some 2 minutes and 11 seconds into the period. Cass closed the period with a 7-5 run to forge its 30-30 tie after three quarters of play.

The Lady Colonels took the lead when Huskins hit a bucket midway through the fourth quarter for a 35-34 differential.

Katie Harris gave the Lady Wildcats a 36-35 lead with a bucket half a minute later and Burley brought the Lady Colonels to 37-36 at the 3:58 mark. A bucket by Huskins lifted Cass to 39-36 and Dubose responded with a putback to close to 39-38. Morning closed out scoring with two points from the charity stripe.

Horton said the Lady Wildcats came to play.

“I thought Woodland outplayed us in the first half. They came out ready to play. We were a little sluggish there in the beginning. At halftime we told [our girls] we’re still in the game. The girls came out in the third quarter ready to play. We came back and got a W.”

Morgan said Woodland had its chances.

“I thought we had a chance early to put the game away or to definitely leave a good imprint,” he said. “[But] we turned it over right before the half and to their credit they got back in the game. They came out with more energy in the second half and they were able to impose their will in the style of game.

“Hats off to Cass. They played a good game and deserved to win.”

Burley led Cass with 13 points and Wright dropped in 9 points.

Woodland (7-3, 5-1) was led by Harris with 13 and Dubose also reached double figures with 11 points.

The victory improved the Lady Colonels’ record to 5-4 on the season.

Woodland next plays Adairsville on Monday at 5:30 p.m. at Georgia Highlands in the first round of the Rome News-Tribune Holiday Festival.

Cass plays Tuesday when it visits Southeast Whitfield with a 6 p.m. tipoff.

Fellowship Christian 35, Excel 23

Excel played tough but Fellowship Christian pulled away late to take a 35-23 victory over the Lady Eagles in girls high school basketball Saturday night.

The Lady Eagles trailed by just three points going into the fourth quarter and the 12-point loss was significantly less than the 27 points by which Excel fell in its season opener against the same school.

“We definitely are heading in the right direction,” head coach Eric Harris said. “We were in the game until three minutes remained and that’s when they started stretching their lead.”

Harris said Fellowship helped its case at the foul line late and Excel missed some inside shots.

“We played them to 12 on the road [tonight] and I’m satisfied we’re getting better each game,” he said. “That’s what you ask of your team.”

Fellowship led 9-6 after a quarter of play and increased its lead by a single point by halftime, when it was on top by 14-10.

The Lady Eagles trimmed a point off that lead in the third period with an 8-7 run and were down 21-18 after three full quarters of play.

Andrea Taylor led Excel with 13 points and Miriam Hibbard and Becca Bell each dropped in four points.

Excel, 1-6 overall, next plays Friday and Saturday in the Fannin County Christmas Tournament. The Lady Eagles are to play Hiwassee Dam, a Tennessee school, on Friday. Tipoff is at 4 p.m.