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November 24, 2013

H.S. GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Warriors hang on to beat Clarksville, 32-30

CAI ends five-game skid as Burch scores 16 before going down with injury

CLARKSVILLE — Normally when a team makes only three field goals and scores just nine points in the second half, it comes out on the losing end.

Christian Academy was the exception to that rule on Saturday night at Clarksville High School.

Despite their second-half offensive struggles, the Warriors snapped a five-game losing streak to defeat the host Generals, 32-30.

“Probably one of the biggest keys for us tonight was how we rebounded in the second half compared to the first half,” CAI head coach Mike Baird said. “Even though we didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, we went after it on the glass and we played some good defense.”

The Warriors (2-5), who led most of the contest, got the lead back at 29-28 with 3:10 left in regulation when junior guard Rachel Wright knocked down a 15-foot jumper. But the Generals (3-3) quickly regained the lead at 30-29 on a bucket by sophomore forward Courtney Holmes.

Senior guard Emily Huffaker put CAI back up by one with 32.6 seconds remaining after hitting a pair of free throws. Following a missed foul shot by Clarksville senior Gabby Evans, Huffaker made the front end of a 1-and-1 with 19.3 ticks left to give the Warriors a two-point advantage. Huffaker is back in the CAI lineup this season after missing all of last year with an ACL injury.

“It was big for her to get in that moment again after being out all of last year,” Baird said.

The Generals had their chances to at least tie the game in the closing seconds. Evans missed a 5-foot jumper with nine seconds remaining. With around two seconds left, Holmes missed the front end of a 1-and-1. Evans got the rebound, but she misfired on the putback attempt as time expired.

Clarksville got some scoring opportunities in the final quarter thanks to applying a zone full-court press and forcing some Warrior turnovers. But the Generals struggled putting the ball in the hole off those miscues.

“I felt like it helped. But we weren’t able to convert off of it,” Generals’ head coach B.D. Ledbetter said about the press. “We got a couple of turnovers and we just weren’t able to come down and capitalize. I thought we played pretty good defense.”

Baird lauded the rebounding of CAI senior forward Kiersten Carruthers in the second half. Eight of Carruthers’ team-high 10 rebounds came in the second half.

At halftime, Baird ordered Carruthers to defend and block out Clarksville senior center Haley Jenkins. Jenkins, who grabbed a game-high 20 boards, had eight rebounds in the latter half.

“We gave her the assignment at halftime. We said, ‘You’ve got Jenkins,’” Baird said about the halftime adjustment. “That was big.”

The Warriors led 23-18 at halftime thanks to junior Allison Burch. The 5-foot-6 guard scored 14 of her game-high 16 points in the first half. She nailed four 3-pointers, but with 4:23 left in the third quarter, Burch left the game with an elbow injury and did not return.

“When Allison went down, I had some doubts. Allison was really on her game tonight. She played a great first half,” Baird said. “Everything goes through her. Typically as she goes, we go. The other girls kind of feed off of it and then they will hit some of those shots to help balance stuff out once she gets going.”

Jenkins was the only General to score in double figures with a team-high 14 points. It was the second time this season that she has snagged 20-plus rebounds in a game.

Both teams struggled shooting the ball. The Warriors were 11-of-44 from the floor (25 percent), while Clarksville shot 11-of-46 (23.9 percent).

“We missed a lot of shots that we typically make,” Ledbetter said. “I thought we ran our offense well. We got a lot of shots up, but we were a little out of control at times.”

Christian Academy will travel to Orleans on Monday. The Generals will host Silver Creek in their Mid-Southern Conference opener on Wednesday, Dec. 4.

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