Published: Feb 20, 2012 01:25 AM
Modified: Feb 20, 2012 01:43 AM
CARY - Triangle Independent Schools Athletic Conference girls basketball champ Cary Academy fell 56-49 to rival Ravenscroft in the teams third match-up of the season. The Lady Chargers had swept the Ravens in the regular season.
Its hard to beat anybody three times, said Cary Academy coach Danielle Harber.
But despite fading down the stretch to miss out on a sweep of the regular season and tournament championships, the Chargers didnt leave the post-game TISAC awards ceremony empty-handed.
The team received its trophy for the regular season title and junior forward Mickayla Sanders was named TISAC Player of the Year, while sophomore Brianna Powell took home first-team all-TISAC honors.
With big scoring nights from Sanders leading the way all year, the Chargers clinched the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament and a first round home game in the state playoffs.
After being run off the court in one match-up and falling late in the other regular season showdown with CA, Ravenscroft entered Friday night aware that a victory depended on how well it could defend Sanders, who finished the game 24 points shy of the schools career scoring mark.
Stopping Mickayla Sanders was our primary emphasis the last time we played them and in this game, Hardy said. Elle Stumpo played Mickayla 95% of the time. It was a man defense, but it was Stumpos job to make sure Mickayla had limited touches, and she did a great job.
Only five of Sanders' 15 points came after halftime, and none in the fourth quarter. That coincided with -- or perhaps the reason why -- Cary Academys offense bogged down in the final two quarters.
In the first half we got some great looks but we missed a lot of layups, Harber said. In the second half we were just stymied I felt. We really didnt get good shots late.
Ravenscroft led 14-13 after the first quarter and the teams battled to ties of 26-all at halftime and 39-39 entering the fourth quarter.
But Ravenscrofts defense and free throw shooting then sealed the deal, as Cary Academy was unable to convert another field goal in the final two minutes.
It makes a difference, Harber said. Free throws win games.
But with the state playoffs looming, Cary Academy will have no time to what-if itself about the loss.
We talked about how good teams have to respond, said Cary Academy coach Danielle Harber. We talked about the fact that good teams respond. We have states next week and we cant let this be a setback for us. We need to stay focused, put this behind us, look forward to states and hopefully play
some good basketball.
Cary Academy is the No. 5 seed in the NCISAA 3A tournament and will host Covenant Day School on Tuesday.