CARY — Despite playing against the Tri-9 Conference’s premier team, Cary gave Green Hope all it could handle for three quarters. Ultimately, Green Hope managed to pull away with a dominant fourth quarter and come up with a comfortable 51-39 win at home Tuesday night.
Cary trailed 38-35 after three quarters, threatening to hand Green Hope its first conference loss since the 2009 conference tournament. But a defensive effort that limited the Imps to just four fourth-quarter points allowed the Falcons to collect yet another conference win.
Despite losing for the fourth game in a row, Cary coach Patrick Daly was fairly upbeat by his team’s performance, especially considering the opponent.
“For us it was a big step forward,” he said. “We tried not to put a lot of emphsis on this game. We know how good Green Hope is and they showed it tonight. But our girls came out and fought one quarter at a time.
Cary (5-11, 2-5) trailed by one point after the first quarter, and Green Hope (13-1, 7-0) went into halftime with just a 20-18 edge.
Daly praised his team’s ball handling performance and rebounding prowess as positives.
“The other thing we did well was get second- and third-chance points,” he said. “We rebounded the ball really well on both ends of the floor and I think that kept us in the game.”
Green Hope came out of halftime hot, going on a 13-4 run to stretch their lead to nine at one point in the third quarter.
“The first four minutes of the second half, we always preach to them that they’ve got to get out there and run,” Green Hope coach Mike Robinson said. “We started playing smarter, we started looking for our teammates more and we got some easy baskets from it.”
Still, the Imps would not go away, quickly going on a run of their own to cut the lead to three heading into the fourth quarter before the Falcons went on their game-clinching run.
“We tried to push the ball in transition most of the game," Daly said. “I think we just ran out of gas at the end.”
Ashley Williams scored a game-high 21 points for Green Hope. Whitney Coleman led Cary with 20 points.
“I give them credit because they kept scratching, they kept fighting and they wouldn’t give up,” Robinson said.