CLEVELAND — The White County girls ended a 36-year drought Friday night taking down Central-Carroll 63-50 in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs at the White County gym.
The Lady Warriors (20-8) had not won a state playoff game since 1984, which was also the last season they had cracked the 20-win mark in a season.
When head coach Jarvis Davenport took over the program four years ago, he said both goals were on their Bucket List. After the impressive win over the Lady Lions (21-7) neither accomplishment seems that satisfying.
“When I got here the goal was to create an atmosphere here that nobody wanted to come up here and play us. We want to be a tough out in the playoffs,” Davenport said. “This is a big win for us. People keep coming up to me saying this is a new record and that hasn’t been done in a while and that’s all nice. But we want to keep going in the playoffs."
However, looming perhaps in the second round is a trip to defending state champion Carver-Columbus.
“We don’t really care who we play,” Davenport said. “If it’s the defending champs, then so be it. We’ll just start getting ready for the second round. I’m just so proud of the girls.”
It was a see-saw battle early as the Lady Lions led 2-0 and then 13-11 to end the first quarter on the heels of a 6-0 run over the final 4:21 of the period. But that would be their final lead.
Bentley Cronic drained a long 3-pointer to open the second quarter to spark first a 14-2 burst, and then after a Central-Carroll free throw, Cronic converted a nice give-and-go from Dasha Cannon to spark a 7-2 run for a 32-17 lead with just 1:34 left in the half. They took a 34-23 lead into the intermission.
After a pair of Cannon free throws to start the third quarter, Central-Carroll’s Nyah Houston hit back-to-back 3-pointers to pull the Lady Lions within 36-29. But Cannon then took control for White County.
The junior guard scored 9 of the Lady Warriors’ next 11 points as part of a 13-0 spurt to run out to a 49-29 lead. Central-Carroll never fully recovered getting only as close as 10 the rest of the way.
“We’ve been wanting Dasha to use her skills and take over games for us in situations like that,” Davenport said. “She did a great job.”
Cronic finished with a game-high 24 points to pace White County. Cannon had 16, 14 coming in the second half. Maddie Futch added 10 points and Ellie Gearing had 9 for the Lady Warriors.
Houston and Hannah Harding each had 13 points to lead Central-Carroll.
A big key was White County going 19-of-31 from the free-throw line while the Lady Lions were just 10-of-22 from the line for the game.