Cardington dominated the first half of their sectional girls’ basketball contest at home with Grandview Heights on Saturday and wound up cruising to a 60-23 victory that sent them to the district semifinals.

After giving up the game-opening basket to Grandview’s Chai Dobbs-Elians, the Pirates scored regularly in the first quarter to open a commanding lead. Dana Bertke got the team off to a strong start by hitting a pair of three-pointers and scoring Cardington’s first nine points of the evening.

With the score 11-6 in favor of Cardington, the Pirates put up 11 straight — seven from Beth Hardwick — in increasing their lead to a 16-point margin.

Head coach Jamie Edwards noted that his team took advantage of their opportunity to scout the Bobcats when they played Mount Gilead earlier in the week.

“We scouted them against Mount Gilead,” he said. “We forced the ball out of #5’s (Melana Pomerant) hands. With #44 (Dobbs-Elians), we knew she’d give us a bit of trouble, but she got in foul trouble.”

Cardington ended the first quarter up 23-8 and did nothing but add to that advantage in the second period.

Four points by Madison Caulkins and a three-pointer from Mikayla Linkous made it a 30-8 game. After a Grandview basket, the Pirates would finish the half on a 13-0 run fueled by four Linkous points, as well as three-pointers by Bertke and Lydia Hess.

Leading 43-10 going into the intermission, Edwards was very pleased by the havoc his team’s defense had caused.

“They were thinking about what will happen before they got the ball,” he said. “We got in their heads early and that changed everything. That also helps to come out and shoot as hot as we did. We’re shooting it really well right now.”

Grandview opened the third quarter with a three-pointer, but Cardington would follow with back-to-back long range shots from Kambry Edwards to open up a 49-13 lead with 5:17 remaining in the period. That forced a running clock that lasted for the duration of the game as the Bobcats would not be able to get within a 30-point margin the rest of the way.

Bertke, Hardwick and Linkous all scored 12 points for Cardington, with Kambry Edwards adding 10.

The Pirates will next play Johnstown in the district semifinals. Coach Edwards is expecting the Johnnies to provide a substantial step up in competition.

“They have a six-foot freshman who’s really good in the post, a six-foot senior forward who plays primarily on the outside and a 5’10” sophomore guard who might be the best player in the district,” he said. “They’ve definitely got us on height. It’s going to be a good game.”

Cardington’s Dana Bertke scored her team’s first nine points in their 63-20 win over Grandview Heights in sectional action from Saturday.’s Dana Bertke scored her team’s first nine points in their 63-20 win over Grandview Heights in sectional action from Saturday. Rob Hamilton | Morrow County Sentinel

By Rob Hamilton

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Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS