Cardington senior Sage Brannon reached the 1000-point mark of her high school basketball career Saturday, providing a highlight during the team’s 82-21 dismantling of East Knox during an evening KMAC game.
Brannon reached the milestone with a three-pointer made with 48 seconds remaining in the second quarter — a shot that gave her team a 41-8 lead.
“I was a little bit nervous, but I knew I had to come in and play basketball like normal,” she said after the game. “It definitely was a big weight lifted off my shoulders, but it’s more about the team than getting points.”
Brannon’s mother, Carol, added that having a 1000-point high school career had been a goal since she was four and watched cousin Jackie Mories reach that mark during her career.
For his part, Pirate head coach Jamie Edwards was pleased with his team’s performance, noting that his players didn’t let the milestone affect their play.
“Sage got her 1000th right before the half and I don’t think our flow was affected at all,” he said.
That was evident in the game’s score. The contest was close for the first 90 seconds, as a Bulldog three-pointer kept the visitors within a 4-3 margin. However, Cardington’s defense dominated the first half, as they gave up no further points the rest of the quarter and only surrendered one basket and three free throws in the second.
Five points by Kyndall Spires, five more from Casey Bertke and four from Brannon helped turn that 4-3 lead into a 20-3 margin by the end of the opening period. That advantage would only grow over the second quarter. Brannon scored seven points in the first five minutes of the period and Taylor Reppart added four to help boost the lead to a 33-5 margin.
East Knox got a basket and free throw, but the Pirates finished the quarter with a 12-0 run included included Brannon’s milestone three-pointer, as well as one from Alex Maceyko. Edwards noted that his team was getting healthier, as Maceyko returned from an ankle injury for Saturday’s game and Paige Clinger also was able to see action after rolling her ankle in the team’s previous game against Centerburg.
“Paige rolled her ankle our last game and was on limited minutes and this is the first game Alex was back after rolling her ankle against Garaway,” he said. “It’s nice knowing that our next game, we should be back to full strength.”
Cardington continued to dominate the game after the halftime intermission, taking a 25-5 edge in the third quarter to pull away to a 70-13 score. Both Spires and Kynlee Edwards tallied seven points during that span. In the fourth, the coach played his bench for nearly the entire period and that group added four more points to their margin of victory.
After the game, the coach noted that his players avoided foul trouble and were able to be aggressive defensively the entire game.
“I think we held them to eight in the first half and we had a lot of kids scoring points,” he said. “We’re an aggressive team, so we pick up foul trouble, but we had no one in foul trouble tonight, so we were able to keep up our defensive pressure since we didn’t have to worry about anyone fouling out.”
The coach also was pleased with an improved 18-of-29 performance at the free throw line, noting they were around 80 percent from the charity stripe in the first half before falling off that pace in the final two periods.
Both Brannon and Spires scored 16 for the Pirates, while Bertke added 13 and Maceyko, Reppart and Hannah Wickline all had eight. A total of 10 girls scored for Cardington on the night.
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS