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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Lady Champs slide past Viqueens, 52-40

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Jordan Huntley caps off a fast break in the first quarter with a layup.
(T-G Photo by Chris Siers)
It was an all out struggle for points in the first half of Friday's District 9-A rivalry showdown between the Cascade Lady Champions (12-5, 7-1 9-A) and the Community Viqueens (9-7, 4-4 9-A).

Despite those struggles, the Lady Champs were able to string together an impressive third quarter and pick up the 52-40 win over the Viqueens on Friday night to remain in control of the 9-A standings.

"We started out extremely slow and a lot of that had to do with their zone," said Cascade coach Chad Spencer.

The Viqueen's defense did in fact limit the scoring chances for the Lady Champs, but also allowed the Viqueen playmakers to hit a few shots and pull ahead by the end of the opening frame.

"I think we did play really well in the first quarter. We did a great job of talking on defense and communicating," said Viqueen coach Allison Martin.

Despite holding the upper hand with a strong defensive effort, the Viqueens were dealt a major blow when freshman point guard Sarah Pierce picked up two quick fouls, which forced Martin to change up the game plan.

"We had to change to change up a little bit on offense. I felt like we weren't attacking the basket as much as we should have been because we didn't have her at the top," Martin said.

That change was evident on with the difference in offensive production in the second quarter.

Community was only able to muster up four points in the second quarter while the Lady Champs were able to steam ahead with 14.

With a balanced attack by Cascade seniors Haley Edmondson and Elora Skuce, the Lady Champs were able to take the lead just before the half and hold a 21-14 advantage heading to the break.

"At the end of the second quarter we had too many turnovers. It was like we threw right to them and they were able to score some easy baskets going into halftime," Martin said.

After finding little success against the Viqueen's zone defense in the first half, the Lady Champs made some halftime adjustments--which Spencer said was invaluable in picking up the win.

"Sometimes we forget that a dribble can be a great weapon against a zone. So we made that adjustment at halftime and dribbled inside the gaps and got some inside outs and that opened up some of our post play," he said.

"We came out in the third quarter and executed to a T."

Elora Skuce pulls up for the baseline jumper while Hannah Busbee (20) and Davie Barnes (3) try to come up with a block.
(T-G Photo by Chris Siers)
As part of a 19-point, third quarter surge, the Lady Champs found success with their inside-out game, which was spearheaded by Skuce's deadly accurate ranged attack and the post play from Kelsey Parker and Maya Gaston.

In all, Skuce banked two of her four triples in the third quarter while Edmondson added another.

Community on the other hand struggled to find it's offensive traction in the third and only mustered up eight points.

The Lady Champs knew they had to find a way to continue to keep the ball out of Viqueen senior Katie Leverette's hands, and forced other members of the Viqueen squad to step up.

"A lot of times when she's being double-teamed, we've got to find somebody. I think a lot of our shots around the baskets were the high percentage shots, we just weren't making them," Martin said.

Eventually, Community did find a way to work the ball inside to Leverette, who scored seven of her nine points in the fourth quarter rally.

"Katie's a great player. A lot of our game plan was to take it right at her. Kelsey (Parker) does a a great job playing defense on her," Spencer said.

But even with an 18-point resurgence, the Viqueens couldn't overcome early scoring struggles and suffered the loss on the road.

Edmondson once again led the Lady Champions' offense, posting a game-high 18 points, which has become a common occurrence for the Lady Champion senior.

"Haley Edmondson has really played well in the last few weeks. She's really showing a lot of leadership ability. She's putting the ball in the hole and she's making that one more pass," Spencer said.

Edmondson got some key support from Skuce and Gaston, who scored 12 and 11 points, respectively.

Leverette paced the Viqueens with nine points, while fellow senior Kristin Ray added eight.

Both Community and Cascade continue to dive into the heart of the district schedule next week, but both teams also have a pair of non-district games on the schedule as well.

On Saturday, the Viqueens hosted Culleoka, however results were unavailable at press time on Saturday afternoon.

The Lady Champs on the other hand will face No. 1 ranked 2A team in the state on Monday evening as Cannon County pays a visit to the Stable, which Spencer said will be a solid test for his team.

"It'll be a challenge for our girls. They're taller than us at every position. I hope playing them at this point in the season will get us better prepared to finish out the district play," he said.

Both teams will dive back into district play on Tuesday with the Lady Champs hosting Huntland while the Viqueens host the MTCS Lady Cougars.

Both games are set to tip-off on Tuesday evening at 6 p.m.

Community 10 4 8 18 -- 40

Cascade 7 14 19 12 -- 52

Community: Katie Leverette 9, Kristin Ray 8, Sarah Pierce 5, Kaitlin Ensey 4, Taylor Thompson 4, Mercedes Huntley 4, Jordan Huntley 2.

Cascade: Haley Edmondson 18, Elora Skuce 12, Maya Gaston 11, Karly Grissom 4, Haylee Simpson 3, Andrea Pigg 2, Kelsey Parker 2.

3-Point goals: Cascade (5): Skuce 4, Edmondson.

Halftime score: Cascade 21, Community 14.

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