There were some of the expected trappings of a first game of the season for both the Armuchee and Gordon Lee girls’ basketball teams on the home court of Shorter University on Wednesday.
Missed shots here and there, and an overly-enthusiastic foul or hard pass missing its mark kept each team on its toes, but the final score was just a part of why the players, coaches and fans were there.
The 21st annual Shorter Women’s Basketball Cancer Awareness Classic kicked off with a 42-32 win for Armuchee, and it also helped raise money for breast cancer research through the proceeds of ticket and T-shirt sales.
Armuchee has been a longtime participant in the event, which also included Shorter’s women defeating Carver 80-56 in the nightcap.
“It’s just a blessing that we get to compete in this game every year,” Armuchee coach Michelle Arp said. “It’s a way to set the season.”
Seniors Livia Skinner and BrandyAnn Wacker made up most of the Lady Indians’ offense, with Skinner leading all scorers with 23 points and Wacker adding 10.
“I was proud of how our first game went,” Arp said. “There are still a lot of things we need to work on and can get better at, but that’s all first games. You want to be able to build off of that.”
Armuchee (1-0) built a 13-5 lead in the first period, but fell victim to some unfinished drives to the basket in the second eight minutes, leading Gordon Lee to go on a 9-2 run and get within one of the Lady Indians, 15-14, midway through the period.
The momentum shifted when Armuchee began protecting the ball better and went on a 9-0 run to end the first half and lead 24-14 heading into the locker room.
Gordon Lee (0-1) cut the Lady Indians’ lead to four with 6:21 left in the final period, but Armuchee managed to retake control down the stretch and end on a 10-4 run.
“We had some good things happen off of our defense,” Arp said. “We’re just going to keep battling every day and working together as a team.”
Glenwood Primary School second-grade teacher Christi Williams was recognized at halftime as a representative of the Armuchee community and a breast cancer survivor with a presentation on the court.
Arp said hearing stories like Williams’ and participating in the Cancer Awareness Classic each year helps to put life’s challenges in perspective.
“It’s not just the win or the loss, but to play for the cause,” Arp said. “Christi Williams came and spoke to us yesterday and what an inspiration she is to the girls and to the community’s schools.”
Armuchee will be back on the court Saturday hosting Adairsville at 3 p.m. with the boys’ game to follow in their season opener.