The Cleveland High Lady Raiders (20-11) Region 3-AAA tournament run came to an abrupt halt Friday night at the hands of the White County Lady Warriors (20-11).
In a battle of two evenly matched teams, the Lady Warriors managed to come out of the “Raider Dome” with a 56-44 win and another playoff game in their future. The Lady Raiders, on the other hand, were left to come to terms with their painful playoff loss.
“I don’t know what to tell you, I don’t even know,” head coach Mindy Kiser commented.
The game began in White County’s favor, with Cleveland registering their first point thanks to a foul shot around the five-minute mark.
Things began to come together for the Lady Raiders once they got on the board, and they were able to end the first period trailing by three points, 15-12.
Cleveland made quick work of taking the lead in the second period with the Anderson sisters getting the team up by two points within the first minute.
White County was unable to score a point until a foul shot with three minutes remaining in the first half. Despite the Lady Warriors being able to add some points to the scoreboard, the Lady Raiders were able to maintain their lead, ending the second period ahead 28-23.
The third quarter started out on the same note, as the Lady Raiders extended their lead to 10 points over the Lady Warriors.
Once again, Cleveland’s defense held White County from adding any points to the board, until they registered two free throws with five minutes left in the third quarter.
The Lady Raiders worked to keep a lead over the Lady Warriors, but by the end of the third they only had a five point lead over the visitors.
“Defensively we were on our heels to start the game. I thought we did a great job in the second quarter. I thought we did a good job in the third quarter defensively, really for most of the game,” Kiser said. “We had a couple defensive letdowns and they hit some really big shots.”
The fourth quarter marked the start of a Lady Raider meltdown, as the home team was only able to net one basket and hit only 3-of-10 free throws. The Lady Warriors were able to score 22 points, and were 10-of-14 at the free throw line.
“I thought we played hard the entire ball game. Some things didn’t go our way, a couple possessions at a couple key times. That’s playoff basketball, you have to be ready for that and you have to expect that,” Kiser explained.
The Lady Raiders were led by Shawnia Anderson with 11 points, followed by Atarah Abdullah-Muhammad with 10. Sydnie Anderson hit two 3-pointers and A. Abdullah-Muhammad chipped in a 3-pointer of her own.
The Lady Warriors were led by Loren Foster who had four 3-pointers and racked up 17 points in the game.
This marks the second year in a row that Cleveland has exited the post season in the 3-AAA opening round, with last year’s loss coming from Cumberland County.
White County 15 8 11 22 — 56
Cleveland 12 16 11 5 — 44
LADY WARRIORS (56) — Loren Foster 17, Kelsey Roberts 10, Allyson Quillen 10, Wilson 8, Hudgens 4, King 4, Taylor 3, H. Howard, Johnson, L. Quillen, E. Howard, Lewis.
LADY RAIDERS (44) — Shawnia Anderson 11, Atarah Abdullah-Muhammad 10, Q. Abdullah-Muhammad 9, Syd. Anderson 8, Berry 4, Ware 2, Scoggins, Geren, Whittemore, Crump, Walkup, Capron, Phillips, McClendon.
3-point goals: White County 6 (Foster 4, Taylor, Roberts; Cleveland 3 (Syd. Anderson 2, A. Abdullah-Muhammad).
Free throws: White County 20-of-25; Cleveland 7-of-19.
Records: White County 20-11; Cleveland 20-11.