Cardington’s defense prevented Pleasant from getting into an offensive flow in a home non-conference girls’ basketball game Thursday night, while Pirate junior Casey Bertke had no such troubles in leading the team to a 53-32 win.
Bertke finished with 27 points in the game, including scoring Cardington’s final 12 points on the night. Cardington had a lot of post production, as Hannah Wickline added 10, in taking advantage of their height advantage.
“That was our game-plan,” said Pirate head coach Jamie Edwards. “I thought they left about 40 fouls off, but Casey pushed through it.”
Edwards noted that his team’s post production was a necessity, as Pleasant’s defensive scheme revolved around collapsing the lane to prevent senior guard Kynlee Edwards from driving to the basket.
“They did a good job taking Kynlee out of the game,” he said. “She got two or three five-second calls because they did a good job of collapsing in the lane.”
When the team wasn’t scoring from the inside, they were able to get points from the perimeter, as Paige Clinger hit a trio of threes for nine points. One of those shots, as well as a Bertke basket and two free throws from Edwards, staked Cardington to an early 7-2 lead.
Pleasant got within two on a three-pointer from Carlie Craycraft, but Cardington responded with back-to-back shots from Wickline and Edwards to go up by six. The team would wind up with a 21-11 lead after the opening period, as Bertke scored seven points in the final three minutes of the quarter and Clinger connected on a second three-pointer.
Pleasant was able to keep the score within a 10-point margin for most of the second period thanks to six points by Erika Linder; however, Cardington closed the half with a put-back by Bertke to lead 33-21 going into the intermission. They would then open the third with a free throw from Edwards and a three from Clinger to go up by 16.
The Spartans would not get closer than 14 the rest of the way. A pair of Wickline baskets kept the lead at a 41-25 margin and Bertke scored the team’s final six points of the third to give them a 47-29 lead going into the final eight minutes.
The teams’ defenses dominated those final eight minutes. Cardington got six points in the quarter on three baskets by Bertke; however, Pleasant could only muster one three-pointer by Linder.
The win keeps Cardington perfect on the season at 7-0. And, as Jamie Edwards noted, gave them a win over a team that not only has been perennially successful in the tournament, but also has had recent success against his Pirate teams.
“They’re the only team I was below .500 against,” he said. “They had me at 2-1 and now it’s 2-2. Now we’re even-steven and looking forward to next year.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS