Darton’s Kadayasha Jones led the Lady Cavs with 21 points in Wednesday’s 99-49 victory against Chattahoochee Tech. (Staff Photo: John Millikan)
ALBANY — Darton sophomore Kadayasha Jones made her way to the locker room after Wednesday’s 99-49 victory against Chattahoochee Tech, walking away from a court that she and her sophomore teammates have been nearly unbeatable on the past two years.
Her only wish in the minutes after the regular-season finale was for two more years.
“I played my best basketball games here,” said Jones, one of 10 seniors to play their final game at Cavalier Arena. “I wish it was a four-year school, but now you have to move on.”
Before Jones and many of her teammates move on to four-year schools, they have a Region XVII championship to defend — and Wednesday’s 50-point victory was just the latest indicator that the Lady Cavs are playing their best basketball of the season heading into next week’s region tournament.
They have won six of their last seven and 12 of 15 and have put plenty of distance between themselves and a disappointing start to the regular season that saw them lose three of their first six games and drop from No. 10 in the nation all the way out of the NJCAA national poll.
They still aren’t ranked in the Top 25, but Darton coach Lea Henry has seen her team grow tremendously since stepping on the court for the Nov. 1 season opener.
“I am really proud of how much we have improved as a team,” Henry said. “We just have great chemistry right now. Everybody has accepted their roles and are playing well together. We have just made a commitment to defense, and because of that we have become a better offensive team.”
Just like the Lady Cavs’ 2013-14 season, Wednesday’s game got off to a slow start as Chattahoochee Tech — the last-place team in Region XVIII at 3-21 overall and 1-17 in region play — jumped out to a surprising 10-4 lead in the opening three minutes. Darton (22-8, 14-6) finally grabbed its first lead with 14:48 left in the half when Shanea Armbrister scored two of her 15 points, but Chattahoochee Tech still hung around and even took the lead back with 14:02 remaining in the half.
On Darton’s next possession, Armbrister nailed a 3-pointer to give Darton a 16-14 lead, and the Lady Cavs never looked back, ending the half on a 26-9 scoring run to take a 42-23 lead into halftime.
Darton opened the second half on a 31-6 run to put the game away, allowing the team to start looking forward to next week’s region tournament in Americus, where they will be the No. 4 seed and will play in the opening round against the No. 5 seed, which will likely be either Albany Tech or Georgia Perimeter.
Jones led Darton with 21 points and was one of 11 Lady Cavs to score, including B’Kiya Webb, former Lee County star DaQuenna Moore and Vanessa Akra with 10 points each and Jasmine Wilson and Brooke Davidson with nine points apiece.
Chattahoochee Tech, which only dressed six players, was led by Amber Mendes’ 16 points.
GEORGIA HIGHLANDS WOMEN 64, ALBANY TECH 62: Albany Tech point guard Quiondra Darrisaw scored a game-high 20 points, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Lady Titans from slipping to sixth place in the Region XVII standings.
Also scoring in double figures for Albany Tech were Tajai Pearson and Toni Grier, who finished with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Pearson also pulled down 11 rebounds and swiped five steals.
The Lady Titans (14-14, 8-11) had won three of their last four games entering Wednesday’s game and will wrap up their season Saturday on the road at Chattahoochee Tech.
GEORGIA HIGHLANDS MEN 73, ALBANY TECH 71: Visiting Georgia Highlands erased a 10-point halftime deficit to hand the Titans their sixth straight loss.
Albany Tech, which has lost 17 of its last 20 games, had five players scored in double figures: Lafonzo Smith (14), Jonathan Thomas (13), Guy Barnes (12), Kymon Woods (11) and Brandon Quarterman (10).
The Titans (9-10, 3-16 Region XVII) remain in last place in the region standings and will not qualify for the postseason tournament.