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Cavaliers continue regional dominance

– Even a slow start couldn’t keep top-ranked Canterbury from continuing its regional supremacy, especially against No. 2 Oregon-Davis.

The defending Class A state champion Cavaliers shook off an early lull and rolled to a 79-54 win over the Bobcats in the regional finals at Caston on Saturday.

Canterbury has won six straight regional titles. The Cavaliers also have five postseason wins in a row against Oregon-Davis, four of those in the regional finals.

The Cavaliers (23-3) will play Lafayette Central Catholic (18-9) in the semistate next Saturday at either Crown Point or Warsaw. The site will be announced today.

“We really wanted to win this game,” Canterbury senior Aaliyah Gaines said. “It was a big game for us. We came out and played hard and didn’t want to lose. This win feels great, and we are one step closer to the state championship game.”

Darby Maggard led five players in double figures with 23 points, while Kindell Fincher had 17, Gaines 13, Katherine Smith 12 and Bailey Farley 11.

“It was a fun game and really intense,” Maggard said. “I just felt like we just executed really well.”

The Cavaliers made only two of their first 10 shots from the field and led 5-2 midway through the first. The Cavaliers outscored the Bobcats 25-12 in the second.

Once they got rolling, though, the lead grew into a 20-point-plus margin in the fourth.

“In the first quarter, we had a lot of good looks but the shots just didn’t go down,” Canterbury coach Wayne Kreiger said. “In the second quarter, our defense picked up and so did our offense, and it was a big turnaround.”

The teams were two of the top three scoring teams in the state, with Canterbury at No. 1 (74 points per game) and Oregon-Davis at No. 3 (68).

“Our defense changed the game,” Maggard said. “We focused on our defense, and we really tried to get the ball out in transition.”

The Bobcats made only 20 of 54 (37 percent) from the field and 4 of 19 (21 percent) on three-pointers.

“We had to do a good job defending because they have some nice three-point shooters, and our kids did adjust well to some things,” Kreiger said.

Canterbury has now won six straight games and 15 of its last 16, while Oregon-Davis (22-4), which beat Morgan Township 61-39 in the semifinals, had a 13-game winning streak snapped.

Oregon-Davis made 6 of 21 (29 percent) in the first half, while Canterbury was 13 of 31 (42 percent).

The Cavs began to find their shooting touch in the second and began to expand their margin, leading 32-16.

Canterbury led 9-8 in the first in an ugly quarter for both teams, and the Cavs lost Fincher with three fouls.

In the semifinals, the Cavaliers beat West Central 95-54.

Fincher had 25 points and nine rebounds, while Farley had 23, Maggard 17 and Gaines 12. Canterbury made 38 of 65 (59 percent) from the field and outrebounded West Central 37-27.

gjones@jg.net

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