Carrboro overcame a slow start and some tricky Cummings defenses Friday night to take a 50-42 victory that boosted the Jaguars into first place in the Mid-State 2A Conference standings for girls basketball.
Friday’s victory was the fifth straight for the Jaguars (7-9 overall, 5-0 Mid-State) after they started the year by losing nine of their first 11 games.
“The girls are finally buying into our system,” Carrboro head coach Sheremy Dillard-Clanton said Friday night outside the Jaguars’ locker room. “We’re pressing on defense, being aggressive on offense and attacking the basket, but we’re also being patient on offense. The girls are just buying into it.”
Carrboro point guard Deja Tucker, a 5-5 sophomore, has emerged in conference play as the driving force for the Jaguars.
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Cummings tried 3-1 zone with a chaser on Tucker, then a triangle-and-2 with markers on Tucker and Carrboro forward Kate Wood. Neither plan worked. Two Cummings players fouled out trying to guard Tucker and four others had at least three fouls trying to keep up.
Tucker finished with a game-high 27 points – hitting 15 of 22 free throws along the way – while Wood contributed 14 points.
Cumming led three times in the first half, the last time at 16-14 after a shot down low by center Kalyisha Warren with 3 minutes, 33 second left in the first half. Carrboro answered with a 7-1 run, powered by two baskets by Wood and one by Oranique Mangaroo, and the Jaguars never trailed again.
With Carrboro leading 32-28 after three quarters, Cummings went ice cold in the fourth. The Jaguars pressed Cummings into 13 second-half turnovers, and the Lady Cavaliers scored on just one of their first 12 possessions of the first quarter.
Carrboro outscored Cumming 14-2 to start the fourth quarter and led 47-30 before Dillard-Clanton pulled her starters, allowing Cumming to close the gap in the closing minutes.
Cummings’s girls fell to 2-17, 0-6 with their eighth straight loss, and were still winless (at 0-7) on their home court.
The Cummings boys got their fourth straight win of the season with a 76-61 decision against Carrboro (1-15, 1-4). The Cavaliers (15-4, 6-0) were a half-game in front of Jordan-Matthews (18-1, 5-0) as the Mid-State season reaches its halfway point next week.
Carrboro plays a girls-and-boys varsity doubleheader Tuesday at Jordan-Matthews before completing the first leg of its Mid-State schedule with games Thursday at Reidsville.
The games at Reidsville, postponed from an earlier date due to snow and ice, are part of a tough stretch for Carrboro of four straight road games. Friday’s home games with Graham will be Carrboro’s third games in four days.