CENTRE – Etowah tried something the Cherokee County Lady Warriors hadn’t seen all basketball season long on Tuesday night in the Class 4A, Area 10 tournament.
The Lady Blue Devils held the ball on offense in an attempt to slow down Cherokee County’s quickness. The strategy backfired.
The No. 10 Lady Warriors still found a way to score their points, including 11 3-pointers, in a 74-44 victory.
The win secures Cherokee County’s spot in Friday’s area championship game. The Lady Warriors (22-6) will travel to Jacksonville. The Lady Golden Eagles defeated Ashville in other area tournament action on Tuesday.
“This team has surprised me a whole lot. I’m proud of what they’ve accomplished,” Cherokee County coach Leah Nelson said. “I’ve had some teams I thought should be here and didn’t make it, but they play with a lot of heart and determination. They’re very competitive. Sometimes competitiveness will take you a long way.”
The Lady Warriors were competitive once again on Tuesday night. Mary Hayes Johnson connected on three of her four 3-pointers in the first quarter, part of a 21-5 run.
Johnson finished with a game-high 19 points.
“She hit three right in a row, and that was some huge momentum,” Nelson said. “It helps to build everybody’s confidence and kind of gives you a little cushion to attack the basket and get things moving.”
Johnson wasn’t the only Lady Warrior with a big night. Ella Garmany tossed in 18 points and had nine rebounds. Carson Coley connected on four treys herself and had 12 points. Emily Allen added a pair of treys and contributed 10 points (all in the third quarter). Audrey Green finished with eight points.
“I thought we responded very well,” Nelson said. “When you have a team who does that (slowdown) against you, it’s a testament to you and your speed. I think they should feel honored that somebody wants to slow you down because that is one of our strengths, our speed.
“Every game that’s what I write down for our pregame talk, push the ball. If we push the ball every single possession, we can get some easy baskets. I thought they responded very well to it.”
Jaleigh Devine led Etowah (6-16) with 18 points. Abbie Martin added 10 points and Katie Hyde finished with five points.