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Never Too Soon

Youthful Carpenters powers to championship with defense
McKenna Myers set the tempo for Carpenters with sticky defense on the outside in Monday’s American Conference championship game. Photos by Jolanda Jansma

By Stefan Cooper
Blount Press Row

With a relatively young roster, the Carpenters Lady Cougars were simply looking to compete for a title this season.

Carpenters Karli Haworth gets to the basket.

Carpenters Karli Haworth gets to the basket.

The Lady Cougars instead delivered a dominant performance in the American Conference championship game at the Blount County Elementary Basketball Tournament Monday night at Heritage Middle School.

A deeply balanced night saw seven players make the score sheet, and Carpenters led throughout in a 27-7 win over Montgomery Ridge.

“Our goal was to play for a championship,” Carpenters coach K.C. Haworth said, “but I never dreamed we could go 12-0.”

McKenna Myers, the Lady Cougars’ all-hustle point guard, paced Carpenters with a seven-point night, her play on the defensive end going a long way to never allowing Montgomery Ridge to settle offensively. Guards Karli Haworth and Gracie Love pumped in five points apiece for the champions, Julie Combs right behind them with four.

Hannah Williamson, Amsley Pfeiffer and Hallie Pickens found the netting for two points apiece.

Caleigh Carruthers, Delaney White and Isabella Horton had two apiece for the runner-up Lady Bears, Cassa Arnold one.

The Cougars secure the championship trophy.

The Cougars secure the championship trophy.

Defense was proving a difference maker for Carpenters early.

“We’re not very big,” Haworth said, “but they’re fast, aggressive and relentless.”

With Love getting things started, Carpenters built a modest 8-2 lead at the half. In the third, Haworth and Myers upped the ante, the duo tallying five points each. With Combs adding four in the frame, Carpenters opened a 23-3 lead the Lady Bears were unable to challenge the rest of the way.

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