The victory for Sonoraville (19-1, 9-0) was also the 100th career win for head coach Stephanie Caudell who has been in charge of the girls team since the school opened in 2005.
“It’s nice because it’s been a long road since we started at Sonoraville and knowing where we came from,” said Caudell. “I’m more excited because I got it with this group. They’ve really taken the program up a notch.
“It’s a tribute to all the players that have worked so hard to make this program a success.”
The Lady Phoenix jumped on Cartersville early, leading 28-6 after the first quarter thanks in large part to their full-court press. Caudell said it was important to get out ahead of Cartersville early to take away any confidence or momentum they could’ve built.
“That’s what we wanted to do,” said Caudell. “Against teams like that, you can’t give them any confidence early or allow them to stay within striking distance.
“The press got us going and helped us get the game to the pace we wanted it. Everyone has really bought into pushing the ball because they see how well it works for us.”
Sonoraville’s Carrie Cheeks led the way with 25 points as the Hurricanes had no answer for her inside and in transition.
“She just runs the floor so well to be her size,” said Caudell. “If we can get it ahead to her, she can finish it most of the time. She made some post moves tonight for some baskets, but most came on her just beating people up the court.”
Heather Vess came off the bench to score 18 for the Lady Phoenix. Caudell said that kind of production off the bench is very important for her team going forward.
“We’ve really relied heavily on our starters this year so to have someone come off the bench and play like that is exciting,” said Caudell. “A lot of times this season when we’ve made subs, our intensity has dropped, but it didn’t tonight.”
The win puts the Lady Phoenix in great shape to wrap up the No. 1 seed in 5-AAA, which would mean a chance to host the region tournament. They need to win just three of their last five games to lock down the top spot.
“Our goal going into the season was to be the No. 1 seed,” said Caudell. “We’re not there yet, but this one definitely helps because Cartersville was right there on our heels.”