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Friday, May 6, 2016

One point keeps Lady Champs from district title

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Jessica Ervin (1) ties up with Moore County's Kelsey Camp (25) in the final seconds of regulation and wins a key possession for the Lady Champs.
(T-G Photo by Chris Siers) [Order this photo]
LYNCHBURG -- Friday night's District 9-A finale promised to be an all-out dogfight to the finish between the Cascade Lady Champions and the Moore County Raiderettes.

With both teams entering the contest with 12-1 district records, a win for either team would have clinched the regular season championship.

Needless to say, the game lived up to the hype.

Mistakes hurt

In the end, the Raiderettes were able to make just a few more plays and escape with the 42-41 win to close out the district schedule.

"We're both very evenly matched and that's what makes it such a battle. We made a couple of silly mistakes here and there that kind of cost us at the end," said Cascade coach Chad Spencer.

Down by two with 10 seconds to play in the fourth quarter, Moore County's Savannah Williams forced a turnover which led to a Cascade foul on Erin Thomas.

Thomas was sent to the line for a pair of free throws, but only connected on one.

One more chance

Because of the miss, Cascade still had a chance if the Lady Champs could connect on a 3-pointer to potentially send the game into overtime.

But unfortunately for Cascade, the Lady Champs were only able to hit a 2-point jumper by Elora Skuce with 0.1 seconds left.

With so little time left, officials conferred and ran the clock out because there wasn't enough time for either team to get a shot off.

While the end of the game turned into a barnburner, in the first half it was an all-out scrum for points.

Heavy defense

Moore County's man-to-man defense limited the Lady Champs' perimeter attack and made them battle inside for points from the paint.

Cascade, on the other hand, packed the paint and forced Moore County to try and score from the outside.

With the heavy defensive play dominating both teams in the first quarter, Moore County got a pair of treys from Makayla Ray and Erin Thomas, which allowed them to carry a 7-6 lead into the second quarter.

In the second, fans were delighted to more of the same heavy defensive play that dictated the first quarter.

Andrea Pigg charges towards the goal and goes up for a bucket in the second half against Moore County on Friday night.
(T-G Photo by Chris Siers) [Order this photo]
Weak spots

But this time, it was Cascade who was able to expose some weak spots and get several key points from the post.

Cascade started the quarter on a 7-0 run and extended the lead to 13-7 with just two minutes to go, but Moore County responded with Sarah Raby taking over, knocking down all four of the Raiderettes' points.

While points were a rare commodity in the first half, both teams were able to utilize the offense in the third quarter.

As part of a 13-point third, Haley Edmondson led the charge with four points, while Elora Skuce was able to connect on a much-needed 3-pointer to keep the Lady Champs within striking distance.

Raby, on the other hand, spurred the Raiderettes by attacking the paint and drawing fouls. In the third quarter alone, she was able to convert two separate three point plays and was 4-for-4 from the charity stripe.

Hot shooting

Despite being down just one point after three, Cascade mimicked Raby's game plan and began to attack the paint with the hopes of drawing the foul. In fact, Cascade connected on 8-of-8 tries from the line in the fourth quarter alone, with six points coming from Edmondson.

"I thought Maya played well. She rebounded the ball well. And I thought Haley Edmondson did a good job from the free throw line," Spencer said.

Despite dropping the district finale, Spencer still was pleased with how his team competed with one of the top 1A teams in the mid-state.

"Tonight's what girls high school basketball is all about. I'm proud of our girls. I'm proud of these seniors," he said.

Big heart

"And again, we're the smallest team like we always are, but we just have the biggest heart. We have tremendous heart and just give tremendous effort."

While the loss wasn't how Spencer and the Lady Champs wanted to close the regular season, their focus now shifts to the regular season finale on Monday night against Franklin County and to the District 9-A tournament, which will begin next weekend.

"I told the girls to remember how this feels because we've got Franklin County and then the district tournament starts. We've still got some season to play. Our goal--we want to make a run in the tournament," Spencer said.

While the official brackets weren't available at press time, Cascade will be in the opposite bracket from Moore County in the District 9-A tournament next weekend.

One at a time

And while they wouldn't meet the Raiderettes again until the district championship should they make it that far, the Lady Champs aren't going to be looking past anybody.

"We will still have our battles. Once the tournament starts, you can't overlook anybody," Spencer said.

Cascade welcomes Franklin County for senior night on Monday with the senior recognition beginning at 5:30 and tip-off to follow at 6 p.m.

Cascade 6 7 13 15 -- 41

Moore Co. 7 4 16 15 -- 42

Cascade: Haley Edmondson 10, Maya Gaston 8, Haylee Simpson 6, Elora Skuce 5, Jessica Ervin 4, Andrea Pigg 4, Karly Grissom 2, Kelsey Parker 2.

Moore Co.: Sarah Raby 16, Erin Thomas 13, Kelsey Camp 4, Erica Limbaugh 3, Makayla Ray 3, Savannah Williams 3.

3-Point goals: Cascade (3): Simpson 2, Skuce; Moore Co. (3): Thomas 2, Ray.

Halftime score: Cascade 13, Moore Co. 11.

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