The Lady Cavaliers captured the Conference 24 title 72-56 on Feb. 16 after overcoming an offensive cold snap in the first quarter. It was a high spirited and physical rematch against William Fleming where Carroll proved it could pick itself up, dust off and “carpe diem.”
“I am so proud of them. You know. We kind of circled this date on our calendar after last year. We didn’t know the date but we knew the game. We wanted to make sure we were back in this position,” said Coach Marc Motley after the game. “We got here and we seized the moment. We talked to the kids about seize the moment and they did just that. Two years in a row we’ve been fortunate enough to be in this position against an exceptional basketball team. They (William Fleming) are well coached, very athletic and big. I’m just so proud of them.”
More than three minutes into the opening stanza, the Cavalier ladies trailed the Colonels 6-4 with Carroll shooting but not hitting the mark. Carroll County trailed 16-13 at the end of the first. It was nip and tuck early in the second quarter as Mattie Kennedy hit her first three-pointer to give Carroll the lead, 22-20 with 4:13 left before halftime. Both teams went to the locker rooms with the Cavaliers leading, 25-24. Kennedy hit the mark from three-point land with seconds off the clock in the third to announce a rally.
“I don’t know that we turned it around. I think when we saw the basketball go in the basket things seemed to happen. We got a couple of threes to go down in the second quarter and we when we got the lead we started to believe. Sometimes you come out and you see that size and that speed and you don’t believe. We’ve (typically) got a couple but you have to bring those other kids out of it that haven’t played them a lot,” Motley said. “And you see what Maddie, I call her the warrior because when the game is on the line, that’s how she plays. When they see her doing that and see Keely (Lundy) out there playing the same way making jump shots, taking care of the basketball they start to come along. To have (Abigail) Kennedy as a freshman come off the bench and play the best game she’s played all year long. She seemed so poised. She didn’t look like a freshman tonight. She looked like she’d been playing three or four years. We got such big contributions from our bench tonight. I know we didn’t play them a whole lot of minutes off the bench but we got big contributions from the ones who did.”
Motley said they weren’t trying to get the ball to Maddie specifically in the second and third quarters but she is the team’s point guard and they like to put the ball in her hands and let her make the right or wrong decision. He pointed out from the third on Kennedy “took control” and had 23 free throws.
“Our other kids seem to feed off of that. She draws so much attention she leads us in assists with five assists a game. She gets so much attention other kids get a lot of stuff off of that,” said Motley. “She’s willing to pass it. She doesn’t mind. She had seven tonight. You’re looking at a kid with 33 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. Can you ask for anything else than that?”
He said it also didn’t hurt the Cavalier effort that Kennedy, the team’s best free throw shooter, got so many chances at the foul line. Motley offered further proof of Carroll’s adjustments with Fleming nabbing 14 offensive rebounds in the first half compared to seven in the second half — none in the third period.
“In the first half I don’t know if they made a jump shot. Everything was three feet and a basket and most of those were second chance ones. When we started to limit that we were able to get it in the other direction,” Motley said.”We’re going to score more points if you’re going to press us and they pressed us when they got down. Our kids finish well in transition so if you’re going to press us we’re going to push the ball down the floor and we are not going to pull it out much. ” Motley said he looks for Carroll to be the overall three seed as it advances to Regional action this week.
The Lady Cavs were slated to face off against with Woodgrove for their regional action opener Monday with tip off set for 6 p.m.
Carroll 13 12 26 21 – 72
Roanoke 16 8 15 17 -56
Carroll County-M. Kennedy 33, Lundy 12, Carter 12, Dalton 8, Gallimore 3, Robinson 1, A. Kennedy 1, Holt 2.
Roanoke- King 18, Manning 10, Brown 10, Bates 8, Johnson 6, Kasey 4.