Offensive struggles continue, but Lady Cavaliers return to win column

Offensive struggles continue, but Lady Cavaliers return to

By Jackson Wilson

A win is a win.

Ever since their holiday tournament championship, the Carlinville Lady Cavaliers have found themselves caught up in an offensive struggle.

After losing an 11-game winning streak at the hands of Staunton on Jan. 5, Carlinville survived two defensive battles with East-Alton Wood River and Roxana to get back to its winning ways. The Lady Cavaliers have now seized victory in 16 of their first 18 games and have posted a 4-2 record in the South Central Conference.

“We haven’t played well in the last three games. We’re in a little bit of a funk and that can happen to you. Basketball is a long season, but to be able to still win two out of three and not play well is a testament to the ability that we have,” said Carlinville head coach Darrin DeNeve.

It’s not too common to score less than 30 points and be able to win, but the Lady Cavaliers found a way to make that happen in Tuesday’s 28-24 nailbiting triumph over the Lady Oilers at the Big House on West Main. Carlinville fell behind 13-10 at the half, but was able to rally back  with a 12-6 push. The defense held East-Alton Wood River to just five points in the  closing quarter.

“We’re still guarding. The effort is there. The ball’s not going into the basket as often and there’s some frustration there but we’ll fight through it,” said a determined DeNeve.

In Roxana, Carlinville was once again off to an ice cold start in the first. The Lady Shells jumped out to an early 9-3 lead, but Carlinville suddenly caught fire and fought back with an 8-0 run in the closing 75 seconds of the quarter. Up until the fourth, both teams were locked in an intense tug-of-war that consisted of three ties and nine lead changes. Eventually, Roxana began to run out of answers against a defense that smelled blood in the water. The Lady Cavaliers managed to hold the Lady Shells scoreless in the fourth quarter, with the exception of a three-point buzzer beater in the game’s final moments. Despite the adversity and poor field goal percentage (26%), Carlinville still managed to come away with a 38-32 conference conquest. Rachel Olroyd delivered in the clutch for the Cavies by scoring 18 points and racking up two big steals on the defensive end.

Coach DeNeve was pleased with the win, be he was mainly focused on getting the team healthy and back on track on both ends of the court, especially with the Macoupin County Tournament looming on the horizon.

“One reason we’re not playing well is because we have had some illness. Hopefully we will feel one hundred percent and ready to play in the county,” remarked DeNeve.