Lea Henry's team won for the 11th time in 12 games Wednesday night, beating neighboring Andrew College, 72-44.
BY TIMOTHY THREAD CRAFT
SPECIAL TO THE HERALD
ALBANY — Still coping with the lingering aftertaste of their conference loss to Central Georgia Tech — a team it beat by 34 points earlier in the year — the Darton State College Lady Cavaliers took their frustrations out on an outmatched Andrew College squad to the tune of a 72-44 rout Wednesday night.
Despite dropping in the NJCAA rankings after the loss earlier — the Lady Cavs fell from 17th to 20th in Wednesday’s latest Top 25 poll — Darton coach Lea Henry remained confident in her squad.
“Well, I think we’re having a good year. Sometimes you don’t win ’em all, but sometimes a tough loss is good for you,” she said. “We’ve won 11 out of 12 games on the road, we had a great win Saturday at Middle Georgia, and so I’m proud of our girls.
“We’re still first in our region, I think that’s pretty good.”
The Lady Cavs (21-3 overall, 13-2 in region) have won 11 of their last 12 games, while the Lady Tigers (1-16 and 0-10 in the region) are struggling to stay afloat in Samantha Paradise’s inaugural coaching campaign.
Though they were able to make things competitive, thanks to a valiant effort on behalf of Jordan Ulm, who had a team-high 20 points and four assists. On the other hand, the Lady Cavaliers had four players in double-digits: Michelle Mitchell, with 18 points and five rebounds, while Chanteniece Fann added 12, Kadayasha Jones dropped in 11 and Crystal Reed added 10.
Two games after a tough 82-79 defeat in Macon, Henry wanted to make sure her girls stayed on the right track. That was obviously no problem for the Lady Cavs, who were hot out of the gate.
At one point, they went on a 17-2 run in the first half, holding the Lady Tigers scoreless for a full five minutes of action. Fueled by a dominant effort on the glass, the Cavs were able to shoot 50 percent from the field (17 of 34) before intermission.
After the break, the Lady Cavs kept the hot hand, shooting 47 percent from the floor when it was all said and done. At the beginning of the half, Darton held Andrew without a field goal for six whole minutes, going on a 16-3 run in the process.
Fann also grabbed six rebounds, four of them coming on the offensive end of the floor and Reed grabbed eight rebounds. All in all, the Cavs had a 41-24 advantage, crashing the boards all night.
Paradise wasn’t necessarily looking for silver linings in this loss, but more so to the future.
“It’s definitely a developmental program. We’ve been playing teams that have been established for a long time,” she said. “With me stepping in, I haven’t been able to recruit my first class yet. But nothing against these girls, they work hard. They give me their hearts every single day, and that’s all I can ask for.”
After the Lady Cavaliers travel to Americus to face South Georgia Tech, they’ll have done most of their heavy lifting for the year. When they get back, they’ll have four straight home games to close out the regular season.