|Carlisle seniors Blakey Ellis and Kylie Warren receive the 2A-3 District Tournament championship trophy from Carlisle Athletic Director Brad Horn following the Lady Bison's 69-50 win over Earle on Saturday. (Photos by Mark Buffalo)|
By Mark Buffalo
CARLISLE — The Carlisle Lady Bison are rolling.
Carlisle jumped out to a 7-0 lead on Earle then pulled away late for a 69-50 win over the Lady Bulldogs in the finals of the 2A-3 District Tournament on Saturday at Bison Arena. The win was Carlisle’s 18 consecutive, improving the Lady Bison’s record to 26-3.
it was the second consecutive season that Carlisle has beaten Earle in the championship game. A year ago at McCrory, the Lady Bison rallied from a double-digit deficit to beat the Lady Bulldogs, who were the defending state champions.
This year, Carlisle never trailed in the game.
“They are a good basketball team,” Carlisle coach Jonathan Buffalo said of Earle. “They aren’t the No. 2 team in the state for nothing. I warned my team in the locker room at halftime that sometime in the second half that Earle was going to make a push and we had to survive the run.
“We got a little shaky with the the basketball in the first half of the fourth quarter, almost two thirds of the fourth quarter. At the end, we found a way to make sure to get the rebounds. We pushed the lead back out to 19. It never got into single digits.”
After jumping out 7-0, Carlisle led 11-2 then 18-11 after one quarter. Carlisle pushed its lead to 29-17 following a three-pointer by Blakely Ellis with 3:09 left in the first half. Earle cut the deficit to 29-23 with 2:01 left but the Lady Bison led 34-24 at halftime.
Carlisle scored the first seven points of the third quarter to lead 41-24 with 5:32 left. Kiara Miller scored on a short jumper. Kylie Warren hit two free throws then Ellis nailed another three-pointer.
Earle then five in a row to make the score 41-29. Carlisle responded with a 9-0 run, including a rare three-pointer by DeShaye Ricks, to lead 50-29 with 1:17 left.
|Carlisle's Kiara Miller attempt a shot in the first quarter against Earle.|
Earle freshman Colbi Maples scored four in a row to make the score 50-33 before Ricks hit a basket with 17 seconds left to give the Lady Bison a 52-33 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Carlisle pushed its lead back to 21 on a basket by Warren early in the fourth quarter. From there, Earle scored 11 consecutive points to make the score 54-44 with 5:52 left in the game.
Carlisle gained a semblance of control when it scored four in a row, including two by Ricks and a putback by Warren, to make the score 58-44.
Earle never got any closer than 12 points the remainder of the game.
Warren led Carlisle with 32 points. She added 10 rebounds. Ellis had 15 points. Ricks ha 13 points and a team-high 12 rebounds. Kiara Miller had seven points. Heather Bowlan had two points and six boards.
Roshala Scott led Earle with 21 points. Maples had 16.
“That was a great win for our program,” Buffalo said. “That’s one of our goals (winning district). We have the other two goals right in front of us,” referring to the regional and state tournaments.
“We’re just going to get back to work on Monday and play Cotter on Wednesday in the regional.”
Buffalo was appreciative of the fan support at Bison Arena in the championship game.
“It was a great atmosphere … the place was packed,” he said. “They were cheering for both teams. You couldn’t ask for more. That might have been the most people in there since the state tournament nine years ago.
“It was a great environment. I swear half the town showed up.”