FULTON — Oregon-Davis’ latest Canterbury tale ended like each of the previous four: elimination at the Caston Girls Basketball Regional.
This time, Class A No. 1 Fort Wayne Canterbury hit 62 percent from the field over the final three quarters, placed five players in double figures, dominated the boards, and pulled away for a 79-54 win over the second-ranked Lady Cats in the Caston Regional final Saturday.
The defending state champions Cavaliers, who knocked off OD in the 2009, 2010, and 2012 regional finals and 2008 regional semifinal, ended the Cats’ sensational season at 22-4.
“It wasn’t lack of effort,” OD head coach Terry Minix said. “I’m proud of the kids. They went after 50-50 balls the whole game. They stayed in there and did exactly what they were supposed to do. We got beaten by a better team.”
OD hung tight for a quarter and snagged an 8-7 lead with a pair of Haley Collings free throws with 41 seconds left in the first frame. Canterbury finished 3 of 17 from the field in the opening stanza; the third make a basket at the horn from sophomore point guard Darby Maggard.
From there, the floodgates burst. The Cavaliers drained 10-of-15 tries from the floor in the second quarter, and on the strength of 9-0 and 10-1 runs, grabbed a 34-20 halftime lead. After that frigid first, Canterbury hit 29 of 47 shot attempts over the final three quarters.
“What it came down to was it was a close first quarter and we could’ve and should’ve been up 20-9,” Minix said. “We missed a lot of easy shots, but our kids were hyped up and ready to go. The thing that’s disappointing is when you don’t play very well and lose to a mediocre team, but that’s not what happened; we got beaten by the defending state champion and No. 1 team in the state. We struggled to put the ball in the basket. Canterbury is physically bigger and stronger than us, but I think basketball-wise our kids are just as good.”
Maggard triggered a game-high 23 points on 10 of 12 from field-goal range and single-handedly broke the Cats’ man-to-man full-court pressure off the dribble to lead Canterbury. Junior forward Kindell Fincher tallied 14 of her 17 points in the second half, and senior guard Aaliyah Gaines chipped in 13 points, five assists, and four steals.
“The most surprising for me was Gaines hitting shots,” Minix said. “In the film we saw she was mostly head fake and drive, but she hit some spot-up jumpers. We laid off her and that was my fault. We wanted to make someone else beat us, and she did.”
Mountainous 6-foot-2 center Katherine Smith added 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds off the bench for the Cavaliers, who out-boarded OD 40-25. Her presence also prevented OD from employing its patented smothering zone press.
“(Smith) really clogs up the middle, and she’s more agile than you might think,” Minix said. “We pressed, but it was man-to-man. The problem with the zone press is they would’ve put the 6-2 girl in the middle, throw it to her and it’s up the floor.”
Also for Canterbury, senior forward Bailey Farley finished with 11 points.
Meanwhile, with the long-limbed Cavaliers extending their 2-3 zone to the perimeter, the Cats missed their first 10 shots from 3-point territory and hit 27 percent from the field in the first 16 minutes.
OD junior guard Ashley Campbell knocked down a team-high 18 points, followed by Jessica Avarone with 15 points. Collings added 10 points and managed just two rebounds against the bigger Cavaliers. Freshman Lexi Minix secured a team-leading seven caroms for OD, and Alicia McIntosh added seven points.
“I take my hat off to Alicia McIntosh,” the OD skipper said. “That kid played an incredible game. She guarded Darby which is something she wanted to do.”
OD stands to return everyone but senior reserve Lincy Jones next season.
“I feel bad for Lincy,” Minix said. “She has a stress fracture in her foot. She can play, but she’s been limited by it. We’ll have our top seven or eight kids back next year. We won’t play Canterbury next year because they’ll be moving up, but we’ll keep reminding the kids of the score, and remind them how it felt.”
CASTON REGIONAL FINAL
FORT WAYNE CANTERBURY 79, OREGON-DAVIS 54
Score by quarters
OD: 8 20 39 54
Canterbury: 9 34 58 79
OD (54): Taylor Kranenburg 0, Ashley Campbell 18, Alicia McIntosh 7, Riley Trott 0, Jessica Avarone 15, Kendra Sauer 2, Zoe Seese 0, Lexi Minix 2, Ashley Clark 0, Katie Marsh 0, Haley Collings 10, Lincy Jones 0; Totals: 20 10-14 54.
CANTERBURY (79): Darby Maggard 23, Bailey Farley 11, Aaliyah Gaines 13, Carly Johnson 0, Rachel Hoagburg 3, Georgia Lee Williams 0, Emma Hyndman 0, Kindell Fincher 17, Sarah Rice 0, Katie Haines 0, Katherine Smith 12; Totals: 32 6-12 79.
3-point goals: OD 4 (Campbell 3, McIntosh), Canterbury 9 (Fincher 4, Maggard 3, Gaines, Hoagburg); Turnovers: OD 15, Canterbury 14; Rebounds: OD 25 (Minix 7), Canterbury 40 (Smith 9); Assists: OD 7 (Campbell, Avarone 3), Canterbury 14 (Gaines 5); Steals: OD 4, Canterbury 10 (Gaines 4); Fouls (fouled out): OD 13 (none), Canterbury17 (none); Records: OD 22-4 (final), Canterbury 23-3.
MORGAN TOWNSHIP 39
OD sprinted out to a 19-2 lead midway through the opening frame, and despite a bit of sloppiness over the rest of the game, advanced to the final with a 61-39 win over Morgan Township in the semifinal.
“That’s what we wanted to do – getting off to a good start,” OD head coach Terry Minix said. “We wanted to make (Morgan Township) have to go faster than they wanted to.”
Haley Collings led four OD players in double figures with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Jessica Avarone added a double-double of her own with 13 points and 12 boards, and Alicia McIntosh matched her with 13 points. Ashley Campbell, slowed by first-half foul trouble, added 11 points and seven assists for the Cats, who led by at least 12 points after the initial barrage.
“It was far from crisp,” Minix said of his team’s performance. “The thing we preach as coaches is go, go, go, and then today we tell them whoa, whoa, whoa. They do a great job with go, but not as good with whoa.
“In the second quarter we had Ashley Campbell sitting on the bench in foul trouble, and nobody stepped up,” he added. “We didn’t move on both sides of the ball. We switched up defensively and did a better job frustrating them in the third quarter.”
Junior guard Trina Coleman led the Cherokees with a game-high 18 points.
CASTON REGIONAL SEMIFINAL
OD 61, MORGAN TOWNSHIP 39
Score by quarters
Morgan Township: 7 16 28 39
OD: 21 33 45 61
MORGAN TOWNSHIP (39): Danielle Polito 0, Trina Coleman 18, Mattie Mikolajczak 0, Morgan Lippens 0, Courtney Osby 1, Lauren Bobinski 4, Shelby Heavilin 0, Kari Gourley 0, Courtney Maxwell 2, Paige Moore 1, Brianna Leuck 5, Hannah Murphy 8; Totals: 13 9-17 39.
OD (61): Taylor Kranenburg 2, Ashley Campbell 11, Alicia McIntosh 13, Riley Trott 0, Jessica Avarone 13, Kendra Sauer 4, Zoe Seese 0, Lexi Minix 3, Ashley Clark 0, Katie Marsh 0, Haley Collings 15; Totals: 20 18-31 61.
3-pointers: MT 4 (Coleman, Leuck, Murphy), OD 3 (McIntosh 2, Avarone); Turnovers: MT 34, OD 20; Rebounds: MT 27 (Coleman 6), OD 44 (Collings 13); Assists: MT 4, OD 14 (Campbell 7); Steals: MT 5, OD 13 (McIntosh, Minix 3); Fouls (fouled out): MT 21 (Leuck), OD 17 (none); Records: MT 14-11 (final), OD 22-3.