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Cavs run away to finals

Defending Class A champs thrive with fast pace

– There’s no secret about how Canterbury likes to play – fast. So, most teams will try to slow down the pace in an effort to pull off the upset.

Lakewood Park seems to be the exception to that tactic.

Twice this year, the Panthers have attempted to play up-tempo with the defending Class A state champion Cavaliers, and both times Canterbury has gotten to the century mark, with the latest being a 100-50 home win Friday in the sectional semifinals at Canterbury.

“They ran the ball right back at us. In the beginning, they were running, and we aren’t used to it because most teams try to slow us down,” Canterbury’s Darby Maggard said. “Once we got used to it, we were good to go. We like to play fast, that’s our game. We like to run the ball, and it seems to work for us.”

In the regular season, Canterbury (20-3) beat Lakewood Park (16-5) 104-66. The Cavaliers have hit 100 twice this year, both times against the Panthers.

In the first game, the Panthers pressed most of the time. In the rematch, the Panthers tried to match the Cavaliers shot for shot, but it didn’t result in an equal point for point tradeoff.

“We tried to play the defense that would make them feel comfortable with the perimeter shot and the quick shot,” Canterbury coach Wayne Kreiger said. “That’s one thing I tried to get our kids to understand, you have to bring your ‘A’ game because there’s no redos. It is survive and advance at this point.”

Most of the Canterbury starters left the game in the third quarter and didn’t return. Maggard and Bailey Farley each scored 22 points. Aaliyah Gaines had 16, Katherine Smith 14 and Kindell Fincher added 13 points and 11 rebounds.

The top-ranked Cavaliers lead the state in scoring for a second straight season, at 72 points per game. Canterbury hit 100 against Lakewood Park on a free throw by Katie Haines late in the fourth.

“We have a tendency to play to our opponent, but once we got going, we really got going,” Farley said. “It’s fun when we do (hit 100). Coach doesn’t like us doing it too much but it is fun when we do. We have off nights on offense, but defense really is the key with our team. We started trapping and getting some steals and really getting our game going.”

Canterbury led by 12, 35-23, midway through the second but put the pedal down with a 30-2 run that went into the third and gave the Cavs a 65-25 advantage. Canterbury outscored Lakewood Park 31-5 in the third.

“We were just not ready to play,” Maggard said. “We had a timeout and Coach (Kreiger) really said we needed to focus on our defense. We came out and played really well the rest of the game.”

The margin hit 60 in the fourth, 91-31.

The Cavaliers will face Bethany Christian (14-9), which beat Hamilton 49-37 in the first semifinal, in the sectional finals at 7:30 p.m. today.

“This is exactly where we want to be,” Maggard said. “We have to come out (today) and play hard and just keep running the ball.”

Suzanne Grimm led Lakewood Park with 20 points.

“We had a little slow start, and then we picked it up,” Kreiger said. “It was a pretty good effort for everybody. It was a burst there at the end of the first quarter and it carried on through to the second half. Then we came out real strong in the third.”

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