Lady Cavs hold off Chase
In the last regular season game of the year, the East Rutherford Lady Cavaliers (15-6, 8-4 SMAC) defeated the Chase Trojans (3-18, 0-12 SMAC) 70-53 at home Friday night. However, both teams took away some high points to build on as they head into the conference tournament.
Takirah McKinney opened the scoring for Chase as they quickly built a 6-2 lead before Shay Dewberry scored her first 3-pointer of the night to close the gap to 6-5.
The Cavaliers took their first lead of the night on the next possession with an offensive put back by Dewberry’s and never trailed again.
The Cavaliers looked like they would pull away early in the second quarter as they increased their lead to six. However, a layup and a 12-footer from the baseline by Chase’s Kailtlyn Smart pulled Chase to within two.
Rachel Camp, who led all scorers with 36, buried one of her four 3-pointers right at the end of the second quarter to give the Cavaliers a 28-25 halftime lead.
“I felt pretty good at the half,” Chase head coach Todd Davis said. “I told the girls at halftime that the pressure wasn’t on us, it was on them.”
The Cavaliers proved more than up for the pressure as they built a 15-point lead out of the break.
Once again, Chase turned to Smart and she answered the call.
Smart dominated the boards collecting 20 rebounds as she surpassed 1,000 rebounds for her career.
“That’s an incredible accomplishment,” Davis said after the game. “She played one of her best games of the season.”
Kendra Holcombe took advantage of Smart,s work on the glass and led a comeback that drew Chase to within five points with a long distance 3-pointer late into the third period. That was as close as Chase would come to threatening the Cavalier lead.
The fourth quarter was marked by solid defense from the Cavaliers.
Justina Greene asserted her physical presence with several blocked shots as the Cavaliers harassed the Chase shooters. Ashlyn Vickers and Nialah Griffin closed out the scoring for the Cavaliers to give them a 70-53 victory.
In the loss Coach Davis found encouragement.
“They have nothing to be ashamed of… we found some other kids to score for us tonight. That was big,” Davis said. ““I told them we could go up to Central and steal one Monday… If we play like we played tonight and we can stay in the game you never know what may happen.”
“A good team win.” East head coach Larry Ross said after the win. “We can beat anybody… shoot the ball well and knock down our free throws, we got a great chance.”
Conference tournament seedings will be announced Saturday morning.