Shon Thomaston had to take a glass-half-full mentality on Friday night.
The Carrollton High School girls' head basketball coach watched his squad register a 48-33 Region 7-AAAAA home victory over Cass to improve to 10-4 on the season and 4-1 in league play, which in the big picture outlook was a good thing.
But the win was about the only positive Thomaston and the Lady Trojan coaching staff took away from the performance in what proved to be a sluggish and sloppy showing by the No. 8 team in Class AAAAA.
"Definitely not the type of performance I was expecting out of our squad. I don't know why we looked so lethargic and slow and rusty. There was really no reason for it," Thomaston said. "Be the bigger person, I'm going to take it on the chin as a coach because it's my job to get them prepared to play and get them up to play and I didn't make that happen. I want to personally apologize to all our fans and people who come to support us to have to sit there and watch the coaching performance that I put on and with the way my team played. Because it didn't look like a Carrollton Lady Trojan team (Friday)."
Carrollton scored the first eight points of the contest and it looked as though it may run away with the game early, but Cass (9-5, 3-3) answered right back to pull within 12-8 through one quarter of action and kept it close in the second period, but the Lady Trojans used back-to-back buckets just before the half to stretch the lead to 26-16.
Thomaston still wasn't overly thrilled with the effort in building the 10-point margin, and he thought regrouping at halftime would do the trick. But it was more of the same over the final 16 minutes as the Lady Colonels hung around just close enough to make things a little uncomfortable for the host squad.
"I'm always trying to find different ways to motivate them. I've yelled before, I've not said anything before, I've been positive before when we've played like this. Normally, we pick it up and play a little bit better. For some reason, we couldn't find that button (Friday)," Thomaston said.
"In saying that, we were still able to get a win against what I feel like is a top-four team in our region. I guess that's a good thing. But at the same time, we're getting to that part of our schedule where we've got to start playing better. We've got too many veterans in the locker room and too many seniors in the locker room that have been in those elite games before to not do better than we did."
Senior forward Erial Daniel led the Lady Trojans with 14 points and 11 rebounds, while freshman point guard De'Mauri Flournoy added nine points, eight rebounds, four assists and four steals, Elexus Bell posted eight points and nine rebounds and Ansley Barge chipped in six points, eight rebounds and four steals. Cass was led by senior forward Lyric Curtis with eight points and seven rebounds.
Carrollton has a quick turnaround with a 3 p.m. home contest against East Paulding on Saturday, where the Lady Trojans will try to shake off Friday's tough outing.
Thomaston is hopeful of getting senior standout Taylor Brown back in the mix down the stretch of the regular season.
Brown, who suffered a right foot injury over the holiday break, is scheduled to go back to the doctor in mid-January to get re-evaluated and possibly cleared to resume day-to-day activities that could result in her returning to the court within two to three weeks.
"The doctor felt like it was an injury that was not so severe that she wouldn't be able to make it back," Thomaston said. "It's just a matter of her healing and getting her therapy and feeling like she's supposed to. She said she's feeling better, so that's a good sign."