CARDINGTON — Pirates head coach Jamie Edwards knew what wasn’t working.
“We didn’t look good in our 1-3-1 zone. Some days it’s not the thing to do,” he said after Cardington’s 55-37 win over Johnstown-Monroe Tuesday night in a Division III district semi-final.
“As soon as we went 1-3-1, the freshman (Abigail Adkins) hit two and (Brooke Barb) got one in the corner,” Edwards said.
“They shot better than we expected. We knew they were gonna shoot a lot.”
Adkins led the Johnnies (9-12) with 14 points.
“We held her to 14 points, just below her average. That was our goal coming in.”
She was the lone player in double figures for Johnstown, with junior Liliana Townsend adding 9 points and Barb 8.
Dana Bertke scored 16 and Beth Hardwick added 15 for Cardington. Karsyn Edwards netted 8 and Mikayla Linkous 7.
No. 2 seed Cardington struggled with turnovers, but managed a 9-5 lead after one quarter and only led 23-18 at halftime.
“We would pass the ball and go screen it. We never screen the ball,” Edwards said. “So we went in (at halftime) and talked about, and I said I don’t want to see any more ball screens unless we’re calling sets for a ball screen.”
The Pirates (22-0) simplified things in the second half, using the pick-and-roll effectively.
“Then we went stall and we’ve got good ball handlers. We’re not big. They killed us on offensive rebounds and that’s what kept them in the game,” Edwards said.
Bertke and Hardwick scored baskets inside to open the second half and the hosts built a 35-23 lead.
“I liked the way we played man-to-man. We probably should have never gone away from it. We tried to double No. 12 (Adkins).”
The Pirates host Africentric at 7 p.m. Friday. The Nubians won 63-28 over Harvest Prep in the other semi-final tilt.
“We’ve played them twice now in the district finals. The first year we lost by 38 and the second time we had a lead going into the fourth quarter and they beat us by 12,” Edwards recalled.
He expects Africentric to press with their athleticism.
“We took them out of the press a couple of years ago. We’ve not had a lot of teams press us because of our ball-handling ability; but I know they’re going to. Ball handling and teamwork are our strengths,” he said.
This marks the fifth district championship game under Edwards.
“I don’t think a lot of people expected us to be this good this year,” he said of a team that starts five juniors.
“They thought they’ll go .500, they’re all this tall. But they don’t realize the work these guys put in. They’re just basketball players and have a high basketball IQ.”