The CAAC Gold girls basketball title is all but decided after league leader Eaton Rapids consolidated its position at the top of the standings with a 45-34 win over Charlotte on Friday night.
Bianca Cavazos led all scorers with 16 points and Allie Dittmer added 10 for the Greyhounds (11-2, 6-0), the sixth-ranked team in Class B, who took a 2-game lead over idle Waverly and at least three over the rest of the league.
Eaton Rapids coach Willis Whitmyer is not ready to claim the league title just yet.
“We’re not locked up,” Whitmyer said. “It was nice to get this one, because it created (some) distance. If we take care of business, obviously we’ll be there at the end.”
Charlotte (6-5, 3-3) took their only lead of the game eight seconds in, but the Orioles were then held without a point from the field for over 10 minutes of play, by which time the Greyhounds had opened up a 20-5 lead.
Jenna Beemer scored on a putback of a missed free throw to give Eaton Rapids a 27-7 lead in the final minute of the second quarter, and they maintained that cushion until the end of the third quarter.
Charlotte chipped away at the lead in the fourth, in which Eaton Rapids scored only twice from the field and converted just 1 of their 7 free throws. Ayren Parrish completed a 3-point play that cut the Oriole deficit to single digits, 43-34, but that would be as close as they would get.
“We’ve done that a few times this year,” Whitmyer said. “I’m trying to allow them to work through it, but it makes the game very interesting at the end. It’s pretty frustrating, because we’re a better team than that.”
Hannah Smith led Charlotte with 11 points and Parrish added 8. Oriole coach Lisa Hoyt said that the fourth quarter gave her team something positive from the game to build on.
“We started moving the ball around, getting rebounds and getting down the court,” Hoyt said. “In the first half, our shots weren’t falling and we weren’t moving the ball.”