Cameron Girls Will Play For State Title
Defense steps up again for Dragons
CAMERON — Before the Cameron girls basketball team made the trip to Charleston for the W.Va. Class A state tournament, Dragons’ coach Holly Pettit told her squad to enjoy the ride.
The Dragons certainly didn’t want the experience to end anytime soon.
In their first state tournament appearance in school history, the Dragons will be playing for a state championship.
Cameron’s defense continued to dominate as it held Calhoun County to seven total field goals in a 44-28 victory in the Class A semifinals Thursday at the Charleston Coliseum.
The Dragons will face Tug Valley or Tucker County in the Class A title game Saturday with a 10 a.m. tipoff.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the whole entire team,” Pettit said. “They stuck to the game plan and it worked out. We’re playing Saturday.”
And the game plan was defense. After holding Madonna to eight field goals in the quarterfinals, the Dragons only allowed seven to the Red Devils.
Also the Red Devils’ 28 total points was how much they scored in the first quarter in their quarterfinal matchup against River View.
“We knew they had two phenomenal guards that shoot the ball really well,” Pettit said. “Our game plan was to force them left, getting in their face and not let them take outside shots. I couldn’t ask for better defense from my guards. Lili Neely and Emma Whipkey played their hearts out. I couldn’t ask for a better defensive effort from everybody.”
And while the offense for Cameron started a little slow, it was freshman Kenzie Clutter who provided a spark for them in the first quarter.
After Calhoun County scored the first basket of the game, Clutter drilled two 3-pointers on consecutive possessions and the Dragons never trailed again.
Clutter finished the first quarter with 10 of the Dragons’ 13 points and 14 overall.
“I was just shooting and they were going in,” Clutter said. “I was feeling good.”
While the Dragons were dealing with some foul trouble with Ashlynn VanTassell — who picked up her third foul with a minute to go in the first half — the Red Devils were dealing with a big one of their own.
Josie Montgomery, Calhoun County’s leading scorer (20.3 ppg.) picked up her fourth foul with 3:39 left in the second quarter.
She led the way for the Red Devils with 11 points.
“That was big because she already scored five (points). I think they only have 10 or 12 points at the time,” Pettit said. “We knew when she got into foul trouble, we had to use that to our advantage. I think it was a big key, however, Ashlynn was in foul trouble as well, so it kind of evened up there.”
VanTassell then picked up her fourth foul in the third quarter with 3:27 left as the Dragons led 27-16.
Calhoun County was able to make it a single digit game and cut it to eight on a Montgomery fast break, but that was as close as they would get.
Although VanTassell fouled out of the game with 2:02 remaining, the game was all but sealed up as the Dragons held a 40-25 lead.
She finished the game with nine points and a game-high 14 rebounds.
Neely supplied a game-high 17 points for the Dragons. The senior scored seven in the fourth quarter with many great drives to the basket.
“It’s definitely crazy,” Neely said about her final game in a Dragon uniform being the state championship. “I knew coming into the season, we were going to have a pretty good team. But seeing it now and being in the live action, it’s crazy. I couldn’t even explain it.”