FLUSHING — Carman-Ainsworth expects to contend for the Big Nine Conference girls’ basketball championship this season, but the Lady Cavaliers got off to a slow start in their title chase last Friday.
Carman dropped an 81-69 decision at Flushing in the league opener after falling into a 26-11 deficit in the first quarter. The Lady Cavs can ill-afford another loss in Big Nine play, since the league plays only six games this year.
“Our goal is to come out on top at the end of this conference run,” said Carman coach Johnese Vaughn. “This is one game, and it’s not a 50-point loss like last year. It’s progress.”
Indeed, the Lady Cavs started this season at 4-2, exceeding the victory totals of the last two years. But a virus that affected nearly half the team contributed to a three-game losing streak before it snapped out of it with a 74- 29 romp over Bridgeport.
Vaughn said the players are healthy again, but they started slowly at Flushing, as the Lady Raiders used their height advantage to take leads of 9-0 and 18-4.
“We were out of synch the first quarter,” Vaughn said. “We gave up layup after layup after layup. Our shots were off in the first half, and our free-throw percentage wasn’t as good as it should be.
“But the next three quarters, we played our butts off. We didn’t quit, and that’s the main thing. Everybody had a great attitude and a great spirit.”
Carman trailed by 20 points in the second half, but closed strong with a 27-19 fourth quarter.
Tierra Mitchell came off the bench to lead the Lady Cavs with 19 points on four 3-pointers. Kapri Thompson added 13 points and Jasmine Jones scored 11, as all nine Lady Cavs scored. Jasmine Boyd had eight points.
Carman (5-6 overall) will travel to Flint Powers Catholic for another Big Nine game Friday.