Cuthbertson girls showing a lot of promise
The Cuthbertson High girls basketball team is in the hunt for the Rocky River Conference title.
Yes, you read that right: Cuthbertson is in contention for a league championship in girls basketball.
After three straight losing seasons following the school’s opening in 2009, the Cavaliers are on pace for their best year ever.
With 4-1 record in the RRC, Cuthbertson is currently tied for second place with Forest Hills and trails first-place Monroe by just a game in the standings.
“We’ve got back pretty much everybody from last year, so we have a lot of girls returning that know the system,” said third-year coach Joel Allen. “Knowing where to go and what to do is not our problem anymore. This year I feel like everybody knows what to do, and anytime you can take out all the thinking, it makes people play faster.”
The Cavaliers went 0-22 in 2009-10 and 4-20 in 2010-11, which was Allen’s first year.
The program turned the corner last season with an 11-14 record, qualifying for the playoffs for the first time.
This year’s team has even higher expectations.
The Cavs beat defending conference champ North Stanly 43-38 on Dec. 10 and also knocked off Forest Hills for the first time ever, 63-56, at home last Friday. Their only loss in the league was to Monroe on Jan. 4.
“Beating North Stanly was big but beating Forest Hills was just a different animal because they have a couple really outstanding players,” said Allen. “Hopefully now the girls will buy into the fact that we can beat anybody on any given night.”
The Cavs are led by sophomore guard Taylor Helms, who is averaging team-highs of 12.1 points and 3.8 assists per game.
Morgan Carlson, a junior forward, averages 11.9 points and 10.2 rebounds while junior forward Deja Burks is at 8.9 ppg and 5.3 rpg. Burks is shooting a team-best 51 percent from the field.
“We’ve been a little more consistent across the board offensively this season,” said Allen. “In the past we would have games where we would score 2-4 points in a quarter, but we’ve been able to stay out of that situation. For the most part the girls have been solid.”
Allen has also been impressed with the defense of sophomore guard Brianna Ingram, who helped hold Weddington star Stephanie Watts to a season-low eight points on 1-of-15 shooting on Dec. 14.
Watts leads Union County with an average of 21.6 points per game and scored a county-record 50 in the first meeting between the Cavs and Warriors.
“Bri doesn’t score a lot, but she doesn’t come off the floor because of her defense,” said Allen. “She just sets the whole tone defensively.”
Cuthbertson plays at home against West Stanly on Friday before traveling to Piedmont the following Tuesday.
“Right now our goal is to still fight it out because we still have a chance to win the conference,” said Allen. “We’ll have to get some help from some other people, but it’s still a possibility. We also want to host a home playoff game for the first time, and we’ve talked a lot about that. It’s definitely within our grasp.”