OCEAN — The Cougar girls wrapped up their second straight 1A/2A Coastal 8 Conference championship two weeks ago, so the 67-35 win over East Carteret Friday was just for good measure.
It capped a second straight season of undefeated league play and extended their conference win streak to 36 games. The Cougars will go into the Coastal 8 Tournament this week with a 20-2 overall record.
East slipped to 4-14 overall and 3-11 in the conference.
Check out video of the game here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QdWI01eDT4&t=40s
The highlight of a night marked by double-digit margins of victory – East won the boys game 62-41 – was the senior night festivities for the girls team. Four of the Cougars’ top five scorers this season are seniors who have started on the team since freshmen.
Those are Kelly Hagerty, who scored 18 points against East, Savannah McAloon and Ally Roth with seven apiece and Natalie Show four.
On a typical senior night, the upperclassmen, including Alexis Wolanzyk, would have played a significant chunk of time. With the state playoffs approaching and an early lopsided scored – Croatan led 32-9 at halftime – substitutions were the name of the game for the home team.
“The seniors want to play, and I love that, but we didn’t want to push the pace of play at that moment, and we don’t want to risk unnecessary injury,” Croatan coach Andrew Gurley said. “It was the kind of night where everyone produced in some form or fashion. We came out and set the tone early and stayed productive.”
Croatan had another top scorer in the game in Haley Cousins with 14 points and three steals. Hagerty, who has returned from ankle injury, also pulled down 12 boards to go with three blocks for her ninth double-double of the season. McAloon had six rebounds, Roth tallied four assists and four steals, and Show had three rebounds.
The Mariners averaged 4.6 points per quarter through the third before scoring 21 in the fourth, a season high.
“We knew it was their senior night and they’re undefeated in the conference, so we just came out trying to play the best we could,” East coach Keith Bernauer said. “We started out slow, so we pushed them to shoot the basketball more in the second half, and they scored some points. It was a good night, and it was good to see Croatan’s seniors honored. They built this team since they were freshmen.”
East’s top scorers were Kendalyn Dixon with 12 points, Kaitlyn Johnson nine and Adrianna Utley six.
Both teams will take part in the Coastal 8 Tournament this week with East on the road at Richlands and Croatan hosting Lejeune for the first round Tuesday. The second round will be Thursday and the finals Friday.
The state playoffs will take place the following week.
Here are results of the game:
East Carteret..... 4 5 5 21-35
Croatan........... 15 17 17 18-67
EAST CARTERET (35) – Dixon 12, Johnson 9, Utley 6, Fulcher 4, Grady 2, Jarman 2.
CROATAN (67) – Hagerty 18, Cousins 14, Howard 7, McAloon 7, Roth 7, Hayden 5, Show 4, Brimmer 2, Pitambersingh 2, Harvey 1.