The Lady Cavaliers captured the Conference 24 trophy with a 69-54 win over William Fleming on Friday night by becoming warriors. In fact, Carroll was able to grab an early lead and hold it almost the entire game, never looking back in securing the first conference championship in program history and impriving to 21-3 overall.
“Our kids were in a situation where they weren’t the most physical team (on the floor) tonight. They were warriors out there. Warriors. I’ve never been so proud of a team in all my years of coaching,” Carroll County head coach Marc Motley said.
The Cavalier coach praised the performances of Haley Turman, Keely Lundy and Mattie Kennedy, who weathered well throughout the intense physical game. He also praised Rylee Haynes and said the evening was one of her best offensive efforts, hitting the most 3-pointers she had all season.
Motley said the team’s three-pointers were not falling initially with Kennedy shouldering the scoring load early and hitting layups late in the game. Kennedy and Mariah Carter both scored 10 points in the first half, wtih Lundy adding eight pouints before intermission as the Cavs built a 34-27 lead at the break. He pointed out the chemistry was working so well he didn’t feel the need to substitute until late in the fourth.
Leading 44-39 heading into the final period, Carroll outscored Fleming 25-15 in the decisive final period to pull away for the championship.
Motley said they Cavaliers knew going into the matchup the Lady Colonels were big and physical. Carroll, however, was able to blunt this with good performances from a bevy of guards to open up scoring opportunities. He noted the timing of the games left them only a fraction of the time to prepare for the final game. He conceded this is also part of the excitement of tournament action as teams make adjustments “on the fly.”
“The Kennedy kid is an absolute warrior. She was 14 of 17 tonight and was eight of nine the previous night,” Motley said of junior Mattie Kennedy. “We made the physical plays when we needed to make them and we did it all around. Haley (Turman) was like a warrior going up against a six-foot-three player (Mallury Bates). They played as hard as they have ever played. Our girls were able to get to the basket though. We felt going into this they’d be a tough, physical team playing us. I was so proud. We never got frustrated. We weren’t the most physical team (tonight) but we were the team with the most heart.”
CCHS Athletic Director Darrin Martin said the victory would give Carroll a seed in one of the top three slots as they look to Region 4-A West action this week. The Cavaliers were set to host a regional quarterfinal Tues., Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. against the winner of a play-in game Monday night between Charlottesville and Loudon County.
Mattie Kennedy led Carroll’s offense with 23 points. Mariah Carter added 16 points for the Cavaliers and Keely Lundy tossed in 11. Rylee Haynes drilled three 3-pointers for 9 points, while Turman added eight. The team hit the mark on 76 percent of their free throws, going 19-of-25 from the charity stripe.
The Lady Colonels were led by Tamani Manning with 16 points. Teammate Dasmine Kasey had 11. The 6-3 Bates was limited to seven points.
Carroll 19 15 10 25 – 69
Fleming 14 13 12 15 – 54
Carroll County — Lundy 4 1-2 11, Kennedy 4 14-17 23, Haynes 3 0-0 9, Carter 6 4-4 16, Holt 0 0-2 0, Turman 4 0-0 8, Reece 1 0-0 2. 3-pointers – Haynes 3, Lundy 2, Kennedy 1.
William Fleming — Bryant 3 0-0 8, King 2 4-6 8, Kasey 5 0-0 11, Manning 6 4-14 16, Brown 1 0-0 2, Bates 3 1-2 7, Stokes 1 0-2 2. 3-pointers – Bryant 2, Kasey 1.
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on [email protected]