Cartersville girls win rebound battle
by David Royal
Dec 27, 2013 | 999 views | 0 0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Don’t tell Cartersville girls head basketball coach Cindy Moore that practice is overrated, even if your team gets a win.

She might grin a little bit — before she picks up her whistle and starts working her charges.

The second-year Cartersville basketball coach got a look at how that works, sort of, after the Lady Purple Hurricanes took a little holiday break this week, not bouncing a ball as a team after its game Saturday until just before it met Cherokee County on Thursday in the Pickens County Holiday Tournament.

That break didn’t hurt the Lady Canes’ win total as they defeated the Lady Warriors, 60-49, behind a strong rebounding effort and a dominating performance in the paint, but there were some things that didn’t go as smoothly as a coach likes to see.

“We came in about an hour and went over a few things,” Moore said after Cartersville’s victory. “We hadn’t touched the ball since Saturday and took a well-deserved break.”

Cartersville played four games in five days last week, three while picking up the third-place trophy in the Rome News-Tribune Holiday Festival, and a makeup game at Ringgold. It won three games.

Moore said Thursday’s result was what the team wanted but it still was not a perfect situation in which to place her girls.

“We had to play through a little rust,” she said. “Hats off to Cherokee for trying to get us in situations where we wouldn’t do well.”

Moore said that challenge is a big reason Cartersville took on the Lady Warriors, a Region 5-AAAAAA team that likes to spread the defenses of its opponents while using 3-pointers and charity stripe shots to work their way toward a victory.

The Lady Canes were challenged all the way in their contest.

Both teams started out in defensive modes, as Cartersville held Cherokee to 11 points in the first quarter. The Lady Canes were able to drop a dozen points on their opponent for a 12-11 lead after a full period of play.

Cartersville tightened its defensive game a little more in the second period by allowing nine points while lighting up the scoreboard for 16 points on the way to a 28-20 lead at the break.

The Lady Canes used a 15-11 run to take a 43-31 third-quarter lead and closed the game on the short end of an 18-17 run.

Kaelyn Irby was credited with 10 big assists and six steals.

The scoring was spread out across the board for the Lady Canes, with twins Morgan and Maya Jones torching the nets for 12 points each and Madison McKinney dropping in 10 points to help her team’s cause.

Moore said the Lady Canes helped themselves a lot with their rebounding and play in the paint.

“We didn’t shoot particularly well coming off the break,” Moore said. “We missed some chances to make some easy baskets, something that probably cost us 10 or 15 points, but we didn’t give them a lot of second chances and we didn’t turn the ball over.”

All things considered, she said, she’s happy to get a win with a team playing on four days’ rest.

“We jumped in there the day after Christmas,” she said. “That’s when you put your best foot forward and shake a little dust off.”

She said Cartersville got the challenge it wanted, too.

“These kinds of games only help you down the road,” she said. “Cherokee did the things our girls are likely to see late in the year. They pass and cut and make you have to work on your man defense to keep the girl you’re covering from crossing in the lane.”

She said the Lady Canes had to stretch to keep up defensive pressure against a team that brought its shooting touch along for the ride.

“They hit eight 3s and a ton of free throws,” she said. “It seemed like half their points came from their 3s and their foul shooting. Still, we did enough good things to get the win.”

She noted Cartersville grabbed 32 rebounds to 24 for their opponents.

“Even though the two teams scored 109 points, Cherokee was pretty deliberate and kept trying to get in the lane,” she said. “They shot 23 free throws and there weren’t a ton of missed shots on their part.

“Any time we got in the lane, something good happened for us. We scored 35 of our 60 points in the paint area. I was pleased with our post players getting so involved.”

Cartersville improved to 9-2 with the victory.

It returns to the hardwood on Saturday, when it visits Model High School, located in neighboring Floyd County.

“Model is another of those teams with a strong basketball tradition,” she said. “We are facing another team where we have to play good basketball to win, and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”

Tipoff is at 2:30 p.m.