In a battle of unbeaten KMAC teams, the Cardington Lady Pirates were able to maintain their perfect record at home against Danville by a 58-44 margin.
After trailing midway through the first period, the Pirates were able to finish that quarter on a 14-5 run and never looked back in improving to 7-0, 6-0 in league play. Danville now is 8-1 on the season.
Cardington trailed 8-7 when Beth Hardwick connected for two points at the 2:49 mark of the first quarter. Mikayla Linkous added a pair of baskets sandwiched around a Danville score and Hardwick added two more points to put the Pirates up 15-10.
The Blue Devils got a three-pointer to get within two, but Cardington finished the period with six straight — four by Hardwick — to lead 21-13 after eight minutes of play.
“That was key,” said head coach Jamie Edwards of his team’s strong finish to the first. “That’s when Emalee Artz came in. She’s so solid and strong. She’s only 5’6”, but plays like she’s 6’. Having her has been a godsend. We knew who our five starters would be, but were wondering who was going to be that sixth going for us.”
While Ella Proper scored eight points in the second quarter for Danville, the rest of her team only contributed five as Cardington was able to widen their lead. Hardwick tallied seven more in the second for the Pirates, while Artz contributed six to help their team’s advantage increase to a 39-26 margin.
However, it looked like Danville would turn things around in the second half. Cardington wasn’t able to light up the scoreboard until the 4:08 mark in the period, allowing their opponents to get back into the game. Two points by Proper and four from Brooklyn Hess got the Blue Devils within a 39-32 margin and forced the locals to make some adjustments.
“I used more timeouts than I normally do,” said Edwards. “We made a couple adjustments and I think that threw them off a little bit.”
Those adjustments apparently worked, as the Pirates responded with their own run. Dana Bertke scored two points for the team, while Karsyn Edwards hit a three-pointer and Hardwick also scored. While Danville got three points by Hess to end the period, the Cardington lead had gotten back to a 13-point margin at 48-35.
Cardington was able to maintain a double-digit lead throughout the final period of play, thanks to Bertke’s efforts, as she picked up six of her 13 points down the stretch. Hardwick led the team with 19, while Linkous, Karsyn Edwards and Artz all finished with eight.
Edwards felt his team did a lot of things right in earning the key KMAC win, citing his players’ defensive effort on Hess, as well as their guard play on offense.
“We focused on slowing Hess down and our 1-3-1 did a good job of limiting her drives,” he said. “We did a good job with their 1-2-2. Our guards did a good job preventing turnovers.”