(T-G Photo by Chris Siers)
On Friday night, the Lady Champions were able to outlast the MTCS Lady Cougars 52-42 and pick up a district win to begin the second half of the regular season.
"We're very fortunate to get a district win and not play our best," said Cascade coach Chad Spencer.
At times, the Lady Champions (10-5, 5-1 9-A) played excellent defense and forced several Lady Cougar turnovers that led to points on the board for Cascade.
But at other times, offensive miscues and turnovers struck, and allowed MTCS to claw its way back into the game.
The teams battled evenly for most of the first quarter with Cascade being able to knock down a few more free throws and hold the 13-9 advantage.
But just before the half, MTCS (8-7, 3-3 9-A) had a chance to bring it within two points. However, Maya Gaston came up with a huge block at the buzzer to preserve the four-point lead.
Cascade continued to work in the second quarter and saw the bulk of its offensive production from Jessica Ervin, who led the team with 13 total points.
While Ervin powered the Lady Champs in the second quarter with six points, MTCS began to drive the paint and draw the fouls.
"Offensively tonight, I thought we did a good job getting the ball inside. I thought Maya did a good job scoring inside the paint. And Jessica (Ervin) and Haley Edmondson did a good job driving and that opened it up for the 3's," Spencer said.
Of 14 second-quarter points, eight came from the free throw line following drives in the lane. Despite the number of fouls racking up, the deep Lady Champion roster came in handy and allowed Spencer to keep pressing the attack.
Things got interesting in the third quarter when MTCS cut the Cascade lead to three points with 3:15 left.
Despite the run by the Lady Cougs, Cascade got a big 3-pointer from Karly Grissom with 2:50 left to play in the third to create some breathing room.
The Lady Cougars started the fourth quarter and again began to chip into the Cascade lead. Following a bucket by Julian Peters, Andrea Pigg came through with a huge 3-pointer that extended the Cascade lead back to 10 points with just under six minutes to play.
The Lady Cougs made a few runs late in the fourth, but never could sustain the momentum.
"One of our goals was to try and make them play our tempo. We knew they didn't have as many kids as we did and it kind of paid off there at the end," Spencer said.
Despite the miscues offensively, in the end that's exactly what the Lady Champs did.
In all, Cascade was able to spread out the offense and see a fair balance of points in the paint, as well as a ranged attack that proved particularly potent late in the game.
In addition to Ervin's 13, Haylee Simpson chimed in with 11 for Cascade, including a big 3-pointer in the third quarter.
Gaston powered the inside game for Cascade, knocking down seven points.
As a team, the Lady Champs cashed in on 11-of-18 shots from the free throw line.
With the heart of the district schedule left to play, Cascade will welcome Moore County to the Stable on Tuesday night.
Cascade 13 12 12 15 -- 52
MTCS 9 14 7 12 -- 42
Cascade: Jessica Ervin 13, Haylee Simpson 11, Andrea Pigg 7, Maya Gaston 7, Karly Grissom 5, Haley Edmondson 4, Kelsey Parker 3, Elora Skuce 2.
MTCS: Erin Mullins 12, Juliann Peters 7, Megan Smith 7, Ashley Sadler 6, Devan Welker 5, Ashlynd Wilkerson 4, Jordan Faulkner 1.
3-Point goals: Cascade (3): Pigg, Grissom, Simpson.
Halftime score: Cascade 25, MTCS 23.