Augusta Prep's Katelyn Gibbs snatches the basketball away from Augusta Christian's Larrie Reece during Tuesday's game at Boardman Gymnasium. The Lady Cavaliers held on for a 45-43 win to improve their standing in Region 4-AAA.
Photo by Mike Howell
Kevin Furtado still can't quite figure it out.
The Augusta Preparatory Day School basketball coach had just watched his Lady Cavaliers beat Augusta Christian School in a key Region 4-AAA contest at Boardman Gymnasium.
With a narrow 45-43 victory on Tuesday, the Lady Cavs picked up where they left off. Prep beat the AC girls in all three meetings last year, and Furtado was amazed that his team stretched the string to four.
"Augusta Christian is tough. They really should beat us," Furtado said. "To me, AC is still the team to beat in our region. They easily have the best talent. I don't know why they don't just tear us up."
The answer is simple, really.
Furtado's strategy is strong, and his player's hearts are even stronger.
In the early going last week, Augusta Christian was driving to the hoop and drawing fouls. Lady Lion guard Shanice Broadwater keyed a full-court press, recording a pair of steals and two buckets to give AC a 12-8 lead in the second quarter.
Later in the quarter, Prep center Mary Hannah Lynn committed her third foul and went to the bench. Augusta Christian took advantage, as Brittany Little dished a pair of passes inside to Sarah Beth McKinney, who converted both chances to extend the lead to 21-15.
A buzzer-beat by Carolina Hull trimmed the deficit to 21-17 at the half, but Augusta Christian seemed ready to run past its local rival.
Then came the third quarter, which started with Prep's Katelyn Gibbs knocking down a shot. Later, Monica Ploetzke nailed a 3-pointer, and Gibbs tacked on two free throws to give the Lady Cavaliers a 24-23 lead.
From the bench, Furtado kept shouting,"Patience! Ball movement!" His players responded by outscoring AC 13-4 in the third, and that was the difference.
Augusta Christian rallied to tie the game at 43, but Augusta Prep held the ball for the last shot.
The ploy worked perfectly, as junior guard Abby Alexander cut to the basket and hit the game-winning shot.
"Our girls execute well," Furtado said. "We played with some composure and made the right shots at the right time."
Furtado also coaches the Augusta Prep boys, and no amount of strategy could help the Cavs against Augusta Christian, which cruised to a 66-53 win in Tuesday's nightcap.
"We aren't intimidated, but we missed shots around the basket you've got to make against a team like that," Furtado said.
Despite the loss, Furtado was still pleased with how the Cavaliers have performed this season, but it is the Augusta Prep girls that are best positioned to make a run in Region 4-AAA.
The Lady Cavaliers improved to 12-5 with Tuesday's win (2-2 in Region 4-AAA), and can really rise in the region standings with solid play in road games this week at John Milledge Academy and George Walton Academy.
"The key for us is we have to win at least one game at either John Milledge or George Walton, and then beat Augusta Christian (in the regular-season finale on Feb 6 at AC). That's going to be a huge game," Furtado said.
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