BY NICK SIMON
An inspired effort on both ends of the court allowed the Lady Trojans to sweep past Cass in the other 7-AAAAA semifinal showdown on Thursday.
Defensive pressure turned into easy offense for the second-seeded Lady Trojans (21-6) in the opening period of Thursday’s contest as they used an 11-0 run to leverage an advantage on the third-seeded Lady Colonels (21-6). Senior guard Rachel Herrera put up eight points in the first, leading her team to a 14-6 lead to end the quarter.
Carrollton continued to roll in the second with a pair of 3-pointers from sophomore guard De’Mauri Flournoy, sparking a 14-0 run. Cutting off the inside and forcing Cass to take several failed jumpers, the Lady Trojans ended up taking a comfortable 28-10 lead into the half.
The Lady Trojans kept hold of their 18-point advantage throughout the third, but the Lady Colonels gradually chipped into their deficit in the fourth, pulling to within seven with 1:12 left.
However, Carrollton managed to finish the game off at the charity stripe and officially booked its reservations for the region championship game.
Flournoy once again led Carrollton with 22 points and six rebounds. Herrera followed her with 11.
Head coach Shon Thomaston saw a night-and-day performance compared to their first-round battle against Paulding County on Tuesday.
“I was pleased with our effort, especially after a lackluster performance the other night. It was good to see our kids come out and play hard in a game that really meant a lot to us,” Thomaston said. “We executed a whole lot better than what we did the other night and I thought we played for the most part a complete game with everyone playing their roles.”
He went into their defensive strategy in the first half of limiting the Lady Colonels’ inside presence.
“We wanted to make sure we took the 3-point line away,” Thomaston said. “In the second half, they started feeding it inside a little more, but we had such a big lead that eventually they would need some 'And-1s' and some 3-pointers just to make it a closer ballgame. They got it down, but we were able to make some free throws and put it away there at the end.”
Carrollton will return to Villa Rica today at 7 p.m. for the Region 7-AAAAA championship game against the host Lady Wildcats.
“You’re going to have to play better than you’ve played at any time of the year,” Thomaston said. “Bottom line is that we’re going to have to give the same type of effort performance that we did (Thursday) to give ourselves a chance to win.”