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The warmup came and went without music, foreshadowing what would a quiet night for the Community Christian girls basketball team Monday.
Minutes before an eventual 37-23 loss to Ridgecroft School of Ahoskie in front of a home crowd at the Sallie B. Howard School gymnasium — Community Christian’s second “home” court — the sound of the Lady Cyclones dribbling and shots making contact with the rims was all that could be heard outside of the murmurs of fans trickling into the building on a rainy night.
When the game began, even those shots went silent.
“We typically get off to a slow start, so we always know that’s going to happen,” senior MiChaeyla Lee said. “But we were able to pull together and fight back a bit.”
It took until the 4:23 mark of the second quarter before a free throw from Olivia Walker put the Cyclones on the scoreboard. By that point, the Lady Rams (11-11) were already leading 12-0. Community Christian (4-15) had taken plenty of shots, but none of them had fallen up to that point.
When your team gets into a shooting slump, Walker said the only thing you can do is keep shooting with confidence.
“You’ve just got to forget about them,” she said of missed shots. “Forget about it and just focus on a different shot.”
That strategy would help the team find some positives in the loss.
The first field goal of the game for the Lady Cyclones came with 1:27 left in the first half, when Lee scored from close range. It was the only field goal of that half and at halftime, Community Christian trailed 16-5 with a lot of ground to make up.
Tasked with talking to his team after a rough start, CCS head coach Kenneth Atkinson urged his team to keep taking shots.
“I’m telling them to shoot more,” Atkinson explained of the halftime talk. “We’re not a high-percentage shooting team, so when we’re shooting a lot it’s better for us. In games where we score a lot, we have high scores, we shoot a lot more. Tonight, and the last few games, we haven’t been shooting.”
More shots fell in the second half, though not enough to bring the Lady Cyclones near a comeback. Walker finished with eight points, six which came in the fourth quarter and added three steals to her final total. Alexis Langley added four points, six rebounds and three blocks. Lee’s basket to start the scoring was her only of the night, but she contributed on the boards, bringing down a team-high 12 rebounds.
After its third loss in a row, Community Christian will regroup and try to avoid another slow start next time it takes the court in the season finale at Christ Covenant in Winterville on Tuesday.
“We held them pretty good the second half,” Atkinson said. “The first half, they got away from us a little bit.”
Daly 2, Brown 3, Lane 5, Rose 7, Boswell 2, Woodard 3, Joyner 6, Taylor 7, Gilliam 2.
COMMUNITY CHRISTIAN (23)
Walker 8, Langley 4, Lee 2, Vaughn 5, Lenhart 2, Webb 2.
Score by quarters:
Ridgecroft 8 8 14 7 — 37
CCS 0 5 8 10 — 23