East edged by Freedom
Coach Larry Ross and his Cavalier squad hosted the Freedom Patriots on Friday night. The Patriots (18-2) came in boasting a 9-0 record in conference play and would need some clutch foul shooting down the stretch to survive another nail-biter as they defeated the Cavaliers 42-41.
The first quarter got off to a shaky start as both teams struggled to find the basket.
Courtney Tate opened the scoring for Freedom by hitting one of two from the foul line. The teams then settled into a hard fought defensive struggle for the remainder of the quarter.
The Cavaliers (13-5) found their rhythm early in the second quarter as Rachel Camp made a drive along the baseline for a layup to draw the
Cavaliers to within one. Moments later, Justina Greene added two more with a soft hook just outside the lane to give the Cavaliers the lead at 18-17.
A quick layup by Camp and two foul shots by Shay Dewberry pushed the Cavaliers second quarter lead to 22-17. Freedom would answer with a 3-pointer by Madison Ervin as the quarter ended with the Cavaliers up by three.
The second half began with Freedom’s Imani Williams hitting an easy layup to tie the score at 22-22.
Freedom took the lead on the next possession but Camp responded for the Cavaliers with a 12-footer from the right side of the rim. She then hit a difficult layup on a fast break to extend the lead to 26-24.
The long arms of the Cavaliers defenders pushed the Patriots out of the lane and forced difficult shots throughout most of the night.
Greene led the team with an unofficial seven blocked shots as the Cavaliers closed out the third period leading the Patriots 29-26 behind the offensive of Camp.
The Patriots opened the fourth quarter with a press that produced a couple of quick turnovers.
After two made free throws and a short jump shot by Freedom the Cavalier lead was completely erased as Freedom led 31-30.
With the score knotted at 36-36, Sarah Yamouti stripped the ball for Freedom and passed it ahead to Tyra Kirkpatrick for the go-ahead basket.
A quick foul on Camp sent Mary Michaux to the line for two foul shots giving Freedom a 40-36 lead.
A strong offensive rebound and put back by Greene brought the Cavaliers back to within two. The Cavaliers defense stepped up again as they gathered the defensive rebound and found themselves with a fast break opportunity with less than a minute on the clock. The layup found the rim but refused to fall for the Cavaliers.
The Cavaliers were forced to foul and sent Yamouti to the line.
Yamouti missed the front end of the one-and-one and the Cavaliers pushed the ball up quickly after gathering the rebound. Camp was fouled and sent to the line with 17 seconds left to play. She made one of two and the Cavaliers trailed 40-39.
The Cavaliers were forced to send Michaux back to the line with 6 seconds showing on the clock. Michaux calmly drained her ninth and tenth foul shots of the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 42-39.
The Cavaliers inbounded the ball to Camp who pushed it up the court needing three to tie.
She pressed passed the 3-point line and made a layup as the buzzer sounded. Freedom escaped with a hard fought 42-41 win primarily on the strength of their foul shooting as they were 10 of 11 in the fourth period from the stripe.
“I expected to win. I thought we could beat them. I think we out played them all over the floor except for the score board,” Ross said after the loss. “They made their free throws down the stretch and we didn’t.”
The scene (has) already been set,” Ross said of the upcoming conference tournament. “We look forward to seeing [Freedom] again.”
Rachel Camp led all scorers with 27.
The Lady Cavaliers will be in action again on Tuesday at Shelby High School with tipoff scheduled for 6 p.m.