By Jordan Miller
Sports Editor –
The word “Unstoppable” best describes the Carrollton Lady Warriors basketball team in tournament play this year.
The Warriors earned the school’s first trip to the regional tournament with a thrilling last second 60-58 win over Maysville Feb. 27 in the district championship.
The comeback win was ignited by a total team effort in the fourth quarter of the game, held in the Coshocton High School gym.
The Warriors stayed with the Panthers, who ended Carrollton’s season last year in district action, shot for shot in the opening quarter of play. The game was knotted at 20 heading into the second period of play.
The Carrollton offense and defense both struggled in the second quarter, which allowed Maysville to pull away and lead 41-27 at halftime.
Carrollton came out swinging in the second half, closing the gap to 50-42 by the end of the third quarter.
Mikayla Poole kick started the effort with a three pointer, a jump shot and a pair of free throws. She ended the game with 11 points.
Down by eight with the season on the line at the end of the third quarter, the Lady Warriors knew they had to give it their all to keep their season alive.
Ali Poole came alive in the final quarter, scoring 12 of her team’s 18 points. She ended the game with 22 points.
With the game tied at 58 and 12.4 seconds remaining, Maysville’s Kori Sidwell took an inbound pass and dribbled up the court. She pulled up and shot the ball just beyond the free throw line with six ticks left on the clock. Sidwell’s potential game winning shot hit the rim and bounced off.
Carrollton sophomore Cailee Husted pulled down the rebound at the three-point line, dribbled the ball down the court and sent a bounce pass between two Maysville defenders to Ali Poole. Poole went up for the layup, rolled the ball off of her left hand and into the basket as time expired.
When the clock struck zero, it was the tale of two benches. Carrollton’s bench erupted and players flooded the court as they became district champions. Maysville’s bench was in obvious shock, players stood with hands over their heads as they tried to come to terms with their season coming to a sudden and unwanted end.
Angela Starre scored 12 points for the winners. Mikayla Poole followed with 11; Husted, eight; and Jaci Pridemore, five. Her sister, Roz, tacked on two points.
“We have been in this position before (down big at halftime),” stated Carrollton Coach Craig Rodgers. “We continued to play our game, run our stuff, defend, rebound and transition. That’s been our game all year.”
“We have done something no other girls basketball team at Carrollton has done,” said Rodgers. “I’m so proud of my girls and what they have accomplished this year.”
Carrollton earned the right to play in the district championship game against Maysville with a 57-43 win over fourth-seeded Cambridge Feb. 23 in the Indian Valley High School gym.
That game was filled with unusual happenings. Cambridge players sank five three-point shots in the second quarter and Carrollton sophomores combined for 43 of the Lady Warriors’ 57 points.
Carrollton struck first blood in the opening period outscoring the Bobcats 13-0.
Sophomore Cailee Husted opened the scoring fest with a fast break layup. She finished with a game-high 23 points. The Bobcats tried to match, but were unable to convert.
Cambridge’s Charlie Endly brought the ball up the court Ali Poole snatched it away heading in the opposite direction. Poole was fouled on her way to the basket, sending her to the foul line for two shots. She sank both.
After another Bobcat missed shot, Husted grabbed the rebound, dribbled down the court and weaved between defenders to the basket scoring two points. The Lady Warriors were up 8-0 forcing Cambridge to call their first timeout of the game.
After the timeout the Bobcats were still not able to get any points on the board. Carrollton finished the first quarter on a 5-0 run.
Cambridge’s offense caught fire in the second quarter, sinking five three-point shots before halftime to close the to 24-19.
Coming out of halftime, Cambridge cut the margin to two points but were unable to tie the game or take the lead.
Carrollton’s offense outscored the Bobcats 22-14 in the final period to preserve the victory.
Husted led the Warriors with 23 points. Ali Poole, Mikayla Poole and Starre each chipped in 10 points.
The Lady Warriors were scheduled to play the top seeded West Holmes Knights March 1 at Zanesville High School in a Division II Regional semifinal game.