Thursday night’s home opener for the Cascade Lady Champions (0-2) showcased a tale of two halves.
The Lady Champions built a nine-point halftime lead, but struggled to maintain the first-half consistency on the offensive end of the court and suffered a 50-42 loss to visiting Cannon County.
“We definitely ran dry. We gave up a lot of offensive rebounds. I really think that was the turning point for us. If we had controlled those boards, I think we would have looked at a different outcome,” Lady Champion coach Kendall Hampton said.
Cascade’s best quarter of the game came with a 19-point effort first frame.
Five different Lady Champions contributed to the hot start, including a barrage of 3-pointers in the quarter.
Cannon County (1-0) relied on a decided size advantage for second-chance points, but Cascade was able to answer virtually every Lady Lion score early in the game.
Cascade continued to rely on a balanced attack that led to another 14 points in the second quarter.
MaKenna Lamb, Caroline Stone and Sophie Ray all added four points to help Cascade build the nine-point lead at the half.
For Cannon County, it was Annaston Holt who scored 10 of her game-high 24 points in the second period to keep the Lady Lions within double figures.
With a decided size advantage, eventually Cannon County began to wear down Cascade in the second half.
“:They have two girls, sometimes three, that definitely had the upper hand on us as far as size goes. It made it difficult for me to get any of my bigger girls subs. They (Cascade) were definitely tired. They were troopers. They played really hard,” Hampton said.
After scoring double figures in each of the first two quarters, the Lady Champs were held to single digits in the third and fourth quarter and managed just a single, second-half field goal, which came with 1:12 left in the fourth quarter.
Cannon County opened the third frame on a tear, highlighted by a 3-pointer by Holt just 10 seconds into the quarter.
The Lady Lions capitalized on the ability to get to the free throw line and in the third, managed 6-of-8 tries from the charity stripe that allowed the visitors to erase the nine-point halftime deficit.
By the end of the period, Cannon County posted a 2-point lead.
The trend continued to favor the Lady Lions as the visitors were able to maintain a slim lead, even with the Lady Champs coming up short on offense.
Cascade relied on consistency at the free throw line to stay within striking distance of the lead.
After a pair of free throws by freshman Sophie Ray with 5:37 left, it was a three-point play by Cannon County’s Bella Pelham that made it a six-point game with just over two minutes left.
It wasn’t until Lani Jones finished a fast break with a layup with 1:12 left that Cascade found its first basket from the floor in the second half.
While Holt had done her damage through the first three quarters, the Lady Lion sharp shooter was held scoreless in the fourth quarter.
Pelham picked up the slack, however, and scored seven points to help the Lady Lions preserve the lead.
Although Cascade struggled to score from the floor in the second half, the Lady Champs were effective at the free throw line.
In the second half alone, Cascade made good on 7-of-11 tries, while finishing 11-of-16.
Pelham joined Holt in double figures and finished with 12.
“They have a player in that No. 10 (Holt) and they went to her. She changed the game. They (Cascade) played so hard in that first half. I just wish we could have made it in the second half,” Hampton said.
For Cascade, it was Stone’s 13-points that led the home team, while Lamb was knocking on the door of double figures and finished with nine.
While it went down as a loss, Hampton was encouraged by the efforts of Ray, who played in her first home game for the Lady Champions as a freshman.
“She (Ray) plays so hard every second of every game. She’s just a freshman. There’s a little bit of a learning curve, so I think there are some things later in the season there are some things she’ll be able to nail down and be a factor for us,” Hampton added.
Cascade will return home on Monday to face Nolensville in another non-district clash at 6 p.m.
Cannon Co. 14 10 14 12 — 50
Cascade 19 14 3 6 — 42
Cannon Co.: Anaston Holt 24, Bella Pelham 12, Jalin Fann 5, Maleah Sissom 5, Maci Sellars 2, Alli Lawson 2.
Cascade: Caroline Stone 13, MaKenna Lamb 9, Lani Jones 8, Sophie Ray 6, Jordan Green 3, Abby Littrell 3.
3-Point goals: Cascade (3): Jones, Lamb, Littrell; Cannon Co. (2): Fann, Holt.
Halftime score: Cascade 33, Cannon Co. 24.