But they’re sure going to remember ending that 11-year drought.
Behind senior forward Deidra Davis and senior guard Kaitlyn Griffith, the Lady Warriors jumped on the St. Clair County Lady Saints early and didn’t let up. They came away with a 65-32 victory in Class 4A Sub-Regional action Thursday, punching their ticket to Jacksonville.
Cherokee County (26-3) will face Guntersville (18-10) on Thursday at 9 a.m. at Jacksonville State University’s Pete Mathews Coliseum. Guntersville knocked out Oneonta 39-38 in other sub-regional action on Thursday.
Ironically, the last game Cherokee County played in the Northeast Regionals was against Guntersville. The Lady Warriors lost in the regional final on Feb. 26, 2000 in triple-overtime, 53-51.
“It’s a big step for these girls, especially with the season we’ve had,” Cherokee County coach Travis Barnes said. “It’s kind of icing on the cake. They’re excited about going, but they know the work’s not done yet. We don’t want to be satisfied with just making the regional tournament. We want to win it.”
Against St. Clair County (7-17), Davis netted 15 points and grabbed four rebounds for the Lady Warriors. Griffith added 12 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Tori Davis came away with eight points and six boards. Candace Blanchard also had six rebounds.
The Lady Warriors took care of business quickly. They jumped out to a 21-8 lead at the end of the first quarter and held a 35-18 lead at halftime.
“We wanted to come out and set the pace of the game from the tip,” Barnes said. “As soon as we’d score, we were pressing, getting turnovers and turning them into points. I think the last two minutes of the quarter, it might have been 10-6, and we ended up scoring about 10 points in two minutes off our press. It kind of took the wind out of St. Clair County. That gave us momentum, and we just ran away with it.”
Kreshala Mickens led the Lady Saints with a game-high 19 points. Diamond Buckhanon ended with 10 points.
“I think we’re playing at a high level of confidence right now,” Barnes said. “That’s what you want to be doing now. Once you get down there (to Jacksonville), anybody can beat anybody.
“To get to this point is a big thing, and to win, you’ve got to have a little bit of luck on your side. I think we have as good a shot as anybody in 4A to make it out of regional and go to the state tournament.”