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Friday, May 6, 2016

Charleston lines up for trip to finals

Thursday, March 12, 2009

GREAT SEASON: Amelia Bray goes for a layup in the Class 3A State Tournament. Cave City wrapped up another outstanding year with another trip to the Final Four.Photos/Mullins
For the second time in a week, the Cave City Cavewomen were looking at a third game in a grueling three-day stretch.

And for the second time in a week, the third day was no charm for the Cavewomen.

Matched up with the physical Charleston Lady Tigers in the Class 3A Final Four at the Riverview Activity Center in Searcy and playing in the state semi-final round for the second straight year, Cave City fell to Charleston 43-36.

Cave City had lost to Valley Springs a week earlier in the regional finals, another exhausting string of three games in 72 hours for the Cavewomen.

While the Charleston Lady Tigers (26-5) didn't have much luck playing bombs-away from the 3-point arc in the first half, shooting just one-for-nine from downtown, the charity stripe was another matter entirely.

Charleston knocked down 22 of the 30 free throws it attempted in the game, compared with Cave City's six-of-nine showing from the foul line.

That was the deciding factor that kept the Cavewomen from earning the right to face conference rival Valley Springs for the fifth time this season. Valley Springs topped Mountain View to earn a trip to the 3A state finals.

Charleston's big post player, Kally Smith, had a big game for the Lady Tigers with 14 points against the Cavewomen, a point-total matched by teammate Jordan McCann.

Cave City (28-6) was playing with a hobbled Brittney Landers, after the hot-shooting forward suffered a leg injury in the quarter-final round against Mansfield.

To make matters worse, the Cavewomen were without the services of Cheyenne Childers for most of the third period after she picked up her fourth foul less than 30 seconds into the second half. Childers paced the Cavewomen with 11 points in the game.

Cave City led 21-20 at the half, but McCann opened the second half with a trey for the Lady Tigers, giving Charleston a lead it would not relinquish.

Charleston went on to hit another trey in the third, coupled with an old-fashioned 3-point play from Ashley Smithson.

On the other hand, Cave City managed just two free throws from Amelia Bray (seven points) and two by Jessica Hall (eight points), and were in a 31-25 hole after three.

After making her return to start the fourth period, Childers hit Cave City's first field goal of the second half with 6:40 left in the game.

Haley Bell (seven points) quickly followed with a huge 3-ball and Cave City was within three, 33-30.

Then with a shade over three minutes left in the contest, Hall knotted things at 34-all with a trey.

But Charleston maintained its calm and found a way to edge in front.

Katelyn Haynes hit a pair of free throws and Smith got free for a layup to give the Lady Tigers a 38-34 lead.

Three more Charleston free throws boosted the Lady Tigers out in front 41-34 with 22 seconds left.

Bray hit a shot in the lane with 14 ticks on the clock, but McCann wrapped up Charleston's 43-36 win with two more free throws.

The first period was an entertaining battle between Smith and Childers in the paint.

Charleston's game plan was to lob the ball into Smith and let her deal. And while she got a couple of first-period buckets, she also had a couple of her shots rejected by Childers.

On the offensive end, Childers pulled Smith away from the hoop and drained a big 3-ball early on.

Brooklyn Brinkley hit a triple that beat the buzzer to give Cave City a big 17-9 lead after one.

But the Lady Tigers re-grouped and outscored Cave City 11-4 in the second to pull within one, 21-20, at intermission.

It wasn't a picture of beauty, but the Cavewomen earned a berth in the Final Four by topping the Mansfield Lady Lions (19-12) 60-44 March 6.

Mansfield simply had no answer for Cave City early and the Lady Lions burned two timeouts in the first six minutes of play to try and stall the frenzy that was engulfing them.

But that didn't work and Cave City took a 21-5 lead after the first period. Lindsey Wooldridge (eight points) buried a pair of late treys for the Cavewomen in the first period.

The Lady Lions looked better to start the second and Mansfield went on an 8-1 run to pull within 22-13.

Childers (18 points) broke the Mansfield surge with a layup and Hall (12 points) followed with a triple, and when the half rolled around, Cave City held a 30-19 lead.

Things began to bog down in the physical third period, but the Cavewomen still managed to control the lead.

Mansfield pulled within 10, 35-25, when Bray (nine points) and Hall hit a pair of layups to give Cave City a 39-25 lead after three.

The Lady Lions kept plugging away in the fourth, but Cave City hit its free throws and ended the afternoon with a 16-point win over Mansfield.

Bell finished with seven points for Cave City, while Brinkley and Amie Willmuth had two points each. Rachel Roebuck and Megan Graddy posted one point each.

In the opening round March 5, the Cavewomen sent the cross-town Harding Academy Lady Wildcats (15-10) packing with a 55-42 Cave City victory.

Landers drilled five treys en route to a big 21-point performance for the Cavewomen.

Harding Academy led 13-10 after the first period, but Cave City rallied to lead 24-20 at the half and 38-28 after three.

Childers finished with 18 points and 12 boards, and Bray had seven points. Bell (10 rebounds), and Graddy added three points each, with Wooldridge hitting for two and Brinkley one point for the Cavewomen.

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