The Cardington girls were able to outscore Highland in all four quarters in winning a road KMAC game on Saturday by a 66-36 margin.
A fast start sparked the Pirates, as they jumped out to a 16-3 lead in the opening 5:29 of the game behind five points each from Kynlee Edwards and Kyndall Spires. While the Scots got five points from Madison Cecil over the final minutes of the quarter, they still trailed 20-10 after eight minutes.
Overall, six different girls scored for Cardington in the opening period, which made head coach Jamie Edwards happy.
“Everyone is touching the ball, which is good to see for us,” he said. “It’s been a great year. These guys are sharing the ball. All of a sudden, they decided to play as a team, which is good. To make a tournament run, we have to have everyone get touches. Looking at minutes, our starters only average 23 minutes a game, so to get that kind of production is pretty cool and that means our bench has to step up and play a starter’s role.”
Cecil opened the second quarter with a basket for Highland, but Cardington then held them scoreless for nearly five minutes. Taylor Reppart started a 12-0 run with a three-pointer, which was followed by a putback by Sage Brannon, a three-pointer by Edwards and two baskets from Spires. However, Highland would take some momentum into the half, getting a three-pointer from Erica Sardinha and a pair of Cecil free throws.
However, the Pirates would come out strong in the third quarter to take any hopes of a comeback away from Highland. After Spires and Kenzie Fuller traded baskets, Cardington got two free throws each from Casey Bertke and Spires and Brannon added a three-pointer to make it a 40-19 lead.
After Brooklyn Baird hit a free throw for the Scots to trim one point off their deficit, the Pirates finished the quarter on an 8-5 run to lead by 23 entering the final eight minutes.
“They’re just a really good basketball team,” said Scot coach Whitney Levering-Smith of Cardington. “They have vets who’ve been there for years. I felt our girls did go out and work hard and held their composure the entire game.”
Edwards agreed with that, noting that his team had more trouble forcing turnovers than they had in past games.
“We’re averaging over 20 steals a game and I’d say we only had about 10 today,” he said. “They did well moving the ball and are getting better every time out.”
In the fourth quarter, the game stayed near a 20-point margin for the first three minutes, but one more big run by the Pirates pushed their lead past 30 points, where it remained for the final minutes.
Levering-Smith noted that when playing a team like Cardington, being able to consistently work hard is the most important thing.
“Keeping our composure and working hard,” she said. “When you have a group like Cardington that just out-talents you, there’s not much you can do but work hard.”
After topping the Scots, Edwards was pleased as his team has earned road wins over both Highland and Danville — two KMAC teams he thinks number among the more talented squads in the conference.
“For Highland, this is their second loss and Danville is one behind us,” he said. “We have some good teams right now with Danville and us near the top and the next time we see them it’ll be on our home court.”
The Scots got 13 points from Cecil to pace their effort. Cardington had four players in double figures with Spires tallying a game-high 19 points, Bertke finishing with 13, Brannon scoring 12 and Edwards adding 10.
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS