Temperatures outside weren’t the only thing hotter than usual as both the Raiders and the Lady Raiders cruised to big wins over the visiting Hurricanes.
Despite a third quarter defensive slump, Cleveland’s girls were able to hold off the Lady Hurricanes for a 48-41 final.
A fast-paced game plan on both sides of the floor led to numerous points and turnovers as the Raiders calmed the raging storm by a score of 83-62.
Lady Raiders 48, Lady Hurricanes 41
A solid stance on the defensive boards allowed Cleveland’s Lady Raiders to really establish the pace of play early on and greatly limit East Hamilton’s offensive production by taking away second-chance opportunities.
Through the first half, the Lady ’Canes were limited to just 16 points, giving Cleveland a nine-point lead heading into the break.
But, as the team’s retook the floor for the third quarter a change had taken place. It wasn’t evident where it happened, but a storm was brewing in the Raider Dome.
After single-digit scoring in the first two quarters, East Hamilton exploded for 18 points in the third quarter. Twice in the period the Lady Hurricanes even managed to wrestle the lead away from Cleveland.
“Well, you know we just wanted to make it interesting,” joked Cleveland girls’ head coach Mindy Kiser.
“No, in all honesty, East Hamilton isn’t a team that is going to lay down. They have too much pride. We came out a little flat. It wasn’t that we weren’t getting looks, but our shot selection was a little wacky at times and East Hamilton came out fighting.”
Luckily, the Lady Raiders were able to regroup and steal the momentum back, going strong into the fourth quarter.
Down the stretch, Cleveland re-established its defensive pressure and once again limited the opposition to single digit scoring to grab the 48-41 victory.
Shawnia Anderson led scoring with her second consecutive double-double. She put 15 on the board. Big sister Sydnie Anderson was close behind with 13 points.
Raiders 83, Hurricanes 62
With wind speeds between 100-150 mph it was the Cleveland Raiders who more closely lived up to East Hamilton’s namesake as they charged up and down the court at break-neck speed, with more than a little debris flying.
“The one thing we are really trying to do is play fast. I joked around at media day that people in the stands might have to wear hard hats because the ball is going to be flying around. When I’m asking them to play faster than what they are used to, it pushes them out of their comfort zone a little,” explained Raider head coach Jason McCowan.
“Once we kept doing what we were doing and gave the guys some time to adjust, we saw the turnovers go down. It’s tough to go from defense to offense that quick. That’s going to cause some turnovers, and we’re true to form right now. But, I believe that with time the guys will settle in and really thrive.”
The first quarter of play was action packed as Cleveland and East Hamilton exchanged the lead seven times and began the second quarter neck and neck at 16-all.
However, the Raiders exploded offensively in the second quarter for 26 points to put some separation between the teams heading into halftime.
Defensive play was the name of the game in the third quarter, as Cleveland held the Hurricanes to nine points. Quick hands on defense coupled with the relentless speed game of the Raiders started to take its toll on East Hamilton.
While the ’Canes were able to close the distance a little late in the game thanks to foul shooting, it proved too great a gulf as Cleveland cruised to the easy 83-62 victory.
Raider scoring was led by C.J. Bryant who netted 22 in the win. Kendrick Thompson racked up 19 points; D.J. Jones put up 15, and Jahmal Johnson had 12.
Next up, the Raiders will travel to McMinn County on Friday for a district game against the Cherokees.
East Hamilton 9 7 18 7 — 41
Cleveland 15 10 11 12 — 48
LADY HURRICANES — Juliette Harp 15, Jessica Coudle 12, Zachery 9, Moon 2, Woods 2, K. Coudle, McCullom.
LADY RAIDERS — Shawnia Anderson 15, Sydnie Anderson 13, Q. Abdullah-Muhammad 8, Berry 6, McClendon 4, Capron 2, Scoggins, Ginestri, Ware, Crump.
3-POINTERS: East Hamilton 1 (Zachery); Cleveland 3 (Berry 2, Sy. Anderson).
FREE THROWS: East Hamilton 10-of-21; Cleveland 5-of-7.
RECORDS: East Hamilton 1-5; Cleveland 4-2.
East Hamilton 16 19 9 18 — 62
Cleveland 16 26 16 25 — 83
HURRICANES — Kenny Buton 11, Wallace 5, Lowery 9, Powell 9, Herdon 8, Griffith 5, Dennis 8, Watkins 7.
RAIDERS — C.J. Bryant 22, Dendrick Thompson 19, Jahmal Johnson 12, D.J. Jones 15, Dykes 2, Beatey 3, Scott 6, Little 2, Bunion 2.
3-POINTERS: East Hamilton 5 (Herdon 2, Powell 2, Buton); Cleveland 8 (Thompson 3, Bryant 2, Johnson 2, Jones).
FREE THROWS: East Hamilton 14-of-19; Cleveland 19-of-38.
RECORDS: East Hamilton 3-2; Cleveland 4-0.