The Lady Bulldogs could not bridge the gap at Sandy Creek.
Instead, the Lady Patriots were able to pull away in the final period of Friday night’s Region 5-4A contest. As a result, Sandy Creek defended their home court by knocking off Cedartown 63-42.
First period shots were few and far between for Cedartown. The Lady Bulldogs managed only 6 points in the first period. Sandy Creek, on the other hand, started slow as well. Around the two minute mark of the first, the Lady Patriots began their offensive tear. Arielle Belinga and Daija Powell scored 6 points each in the opening period to put Sandy Creek on top 16-6 going into the second.
Each squad continued their slow but steady offensive approach in the second. Keke Turner woke up for Cedartown in the second period: the junior guard tallied 7 points before halftime to help CHS try to claw back. Sadly, the rest of the offense could not make enough shots to make it a closer halftime deficit. Through one half, Cedartown trailed Sandy Creek 27-15.
Coach Eddie Gambrell did a fantastic job of finding halftime adjustments to work in the third quarter. Sandy Creek was limited offensively thanks to a swarming defensive attack. Despite the improvements, McDonald’s All-American Daija Powell could not be stopped. The 6-foot-1 senior center, who stood taller than anyone on Cedartown’s squad, accounted for 8 of Sandy Creek’s 12 points in the third period. On the flip side, Cedartown’s Keke Turner and Zoe Diamond Pasley hit the majority of their shots to make it a single-digit deficit as the fourth period crept closer. Three-pointers by Turner and Kamryn Frazier in the final minute brought CHS within 6 at the end of three, but the Lady Patriots still led 39-33.
As good as the third period went for Cedartown, the fourth period still had to be nearly perfect if the Lady Bulldogs wanted to knock off Sandy Creek for the first time in recent history.
Early setbacks for Cedartown in the fourth killed any chance of a comeback.
The Lady Bulldogs missed too many shots early on and the six-point deficit quickly jumped to a 15-point game in only two minutes. Daija Powell and Jania Hodges made almost every shot they attempted down the stretch, with the latter going 7/8 from the line in the final period. Hodges’ made free throws allowed Sandy Creek to pad the lead as Cedartown had to foul late to have any chance to win. The 21-point win marked yet another tough region loss for the Lady Bulldogs in this year’s campaign.
The leading scorer for Sandy Creek (14-9, 8-3) was Daija Powell who finished with 27 points. Jania Hodges added 13 points while Arielle Belinga scored 12 points. Janae Walker netted 7 points and Cayla Wheeler recorded 4 points in the victory.
As for Cedartown (9-10, 5-6), Keke Turner had a career-high 24 points at Sandy Creek. Despite the region loss, Turner’s performance showed that the junior guard can hang with the best of players in the state- even a McDonald’s All-American. Turner also snagged 5 rebounds in the loss.
She was followed in scoring by Zoe Diamond Pasley who finished with 8 points and 12 rebounds. Qiana Watson added 4 points and 5 rebounds while Kamryn Frazier and Marycille Brumby netted 3 points each.
The Lady Dawgs couldn’t handle Troup County during a road trip loss earlier int the week last Tuesday as well. The Lady Tigers took a 58-32 win over Cedartown.
Senior night proved more fruitful for the team. They finished the region with a 6-6 record and a 50-26 win over Chapel Hill to round out the regular season and finish with a Senior Night win. They’ll head into the region tournament in fourth place behind Troup, Central and Sandy Creek.