Cordele Dispatch, Cordele, GA

Local Sports

February 23, 2013

Lady Trojans' Cinderella season comes to an end

Tifton — The clock struck midnight for Fullington Academy’s “Cinderella” Lady Trojans at least one game earlier than they had hoped it would.

After upsetting the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds to reach the Region 3-A GISA finals last week and earn an unexpected berth in the state tournament where they won a first-round game, coach Mike Cason’s girls saw their season end in a 52-21 quartefinals loss Friday to Citizens Christian.

That outcome altered to 9-16 the Lady Trojans’ final record during a major rebuilding season that began with just two experienced returnees in the fold.

“It’s always tough to end your season on a losing note, but I was very proud to see us accomplish about as much as we realistically could,” Cason said. “The girls really came on and played well after Christmas, making it to the region finals and then the second round of state.

“We’re definitely going to miss next season our three seniors — Madison Warbington, Lex van Assendelft and Alyssa Edwards.”

A recap of Fullington’s state play at ABAC follows:

Lady Trojans 49, Lady Rebs 32

When one phase of your game is having an off night, use another to take up the slack.

If that was the approach the Lady Trojans indeed took in getting past the third-seeded Lady Rebels of Region 1-A, it worked well as by sinking 22 of 33 free throws they offset frigid 12 of 53 firing from the field.

Such charity stripe accuracy sparked by Rachel McCleskey’s 17 of 20 marksmanship enabled Fullington to rally from an 11-8 first-period deficit. An equally big factor in the ultimate outcome was the 19-0 advantage the Lady Trojans had in the second period when they went ahead to stay.

“We got off to a slow start, but when we started taking the ball to the basket and drawing a lot of fouls that sent us to the line we were able to come back and overcome their good start,” Cason said.

Heather Waddell nailed two 3-pointers right off the bat to get John Hancock rolling in the early going before Fullington basically shut her down by using its 1-3-1 zone to key on her wherever she went. She finished as her team’s lone double digit scorer with 15 points.

McCleskey wound up with 31 for the Lady Trojans, sinking 11 of them in the second period and 10 more in the fourth. Darrian Bailey also reached double figures for the winners with 13 points and an equal number of rebounds.

Score by Quarters

Fullington Academy 8-19-7-15 — 49

John Hancock 11-0-4-17 — 32

Scoring

Fullington (49) — Darrian Bailey 13, Hannah Clemons 2, Kallie Kimbrough, Meredith McGlamory, Lena van Assendelft 1, Rachel McCleskey 31, Leah Thompson, Madison Warbingtn 1, Lex van Assendelft, Alyssa Edwards 1.

Team totals: field goals 12; free throws 22 of 33 (66.7%); fouls 12; 3-pointers — Bailey 1, McCleskey 2; fouled out — none.

John Hancock (32) — Haley Butts 2, Sara Waddell 6, Chrissy Rackley 2, Denise Clanto 1, Jessica Howard 6, Heather Waddell 15.

Team totals: field goals 11; free throws 6 of 13 (46.2%); fouls 21; 3-pointers — S. Wadell 2, Howard 1, H. Waddell 1; fouled out — none.

Lady Pats 52, Lady Trojans 21

Going up against an opponent that had handed them regular season setbacks of 55-18 in Douglas and 46-35 in Pinehurst, the Lady Trojans knew a major struggle awaited them when they took the court.

What hurt them most was the aggressive defense played by the Lady Patriots who held them to a single-digit points total in all four quarters of play and to just seven points total in the entire second half.

“Their defense really shut us down,” said Cason.

See CINDERELLA page 2B

 “They played us full-court man-for-man the entire time — and when I say the entire time I mean the entire time — and completely took us out of any type offense at all.

“And in addition to forcing us into 20 turnovers and awful shooting (7 of 32 from the floor, 7 of 17 from the line), they beat us badly (47-26) on the boards. We just have to say we lost to a better team.”

While Darrian Bailey was Fullington’s lone twin-column pointmaker with 14 to her credit, Citizens Christian had three in Lauren Burke and Jeris Johnson with 15 each abd Jacey Pruitt with 12.

Score by Quarters

Fullington Academy 7-7-3-4 — 21

Citizens Christian 15-13-7-17 — 52

Fullington (21) — Brittany Bailey 14, Rachel McCleskey 5, Lex van Assendelft 2, Hannah Clemons, Kallie Kimbrough, Meredith McGlamory, Lena van Assendelft, Martin, Leah Thompson, Madison Warbington, Alyssa Edwards.

Team totals: field goals 7; free throws 7 of 17 (41.2%); fouls 10; 3-pointers — none; fouled out — none.

Citizens Christian (52) — Kendal Day 2, Cathy Vickers 2, Lauren Burke 15, Mary Roberson 2, Jacey Pruitt 12, Kathy Pridgen 2, Mallory Walters 2, Jeris Johnson 15.

Team totals: field goals 22; free throws 6 of 13 (46.2%); fouls 12; 3-pointers — Pruitt 2; fouled out — none.

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