CAMDEN By PATRIC FLANNIGAN
Camden Fairview rode into Ashley County Tuesday night and - via a police escort- were able to walk out with victories over tough Crossett opponents.
The Lady Cardinals (13-3) defeated the Lady Eagles, 44-38, while the Cardinal boys (6-6) used a fourth quarter explosion to beat the Eagles, 72-62.
While it appeared that some, not all, of the student section for Crossett acted more like their shoe size than their age and that one particular official did not appear to have an unbiased approach to several important calls, which led to more tension on the court between the teams, it didn’t mar the fact that both C.F. teams are undefeated in conference play and that the student athletes and coaches from C.F. High School did a good job of handling a trying environment with class.
The Lady Cardinals opened their contest with hot shooting and showed little to no issues from the 10-day lay off from its last game and led 16-7 at the end of the quarter. C.F. was able to distance itself more when Tai’Sheka Porchia was able to score 8 of her 17 points in the second quarter.
The Lady Cardinals were able to keep the distance until the fourth quarter when Crossett benefited from home calls and got to the free throw line. The Lady Cardinals had to play through contact and earn every bucket down the stretch. A big pass from Grace Tidwell to Tai’Sheka Porchia set up a critical three point play as Tai’sheka was able to score on a layup and hit her foul shot. Tania Dandridge had two big steals in the fourth quarter to help the Lady Cardinals claim the win.
Tai’Sheka Porchia tallied a double-double on the night with 12 rebounds to go along with her 17 points. Raven Porchia chipped in with 7 points and four steals. Anna Dawson and Jayla Jackson both had six points and combined for six steals. Jihya Jefferson dominated the paint early in the contest and the lady Cardinals got valuable minutes from Hailey Rogers, Madison Thurman, Tidwell and Takari Glover.
The questionable officiating didn’t stop, instead it worsened, during the boys game. However, the Crossett student section may have learned its first school lesson since returning to school in 2019: It’s not a good idea to poke a sleeping giant.
The Cardinals trailed the Eagles the majority of the game until the latter part of the third quarter. That is when, the student section from Crossett did what any good fan base would do and that’s heckle the opposing team at the free throw line. At that point C.F. was down by 7 points but was able to close the gap and only trailed 51-49 at the end of the quarter in large-part due to well-timed three-pointer and stare down of the student section from Qwaishun Thompson.
In the fourth quarter, C.F. quickly grabbed the lead after a quick steal by Javion Clemmer who found Jaylen Moore under the basket for an successful three-point play. The Cardinals then stole the inbound pass and went up 55-51 at the 7:24 mark of the fourth.
Things became tense after the Cardinals took the lead as Eagles players began to chirp and even got away with an obvious shove when an official wasn’t looking.
Things reached its peak when Moore came up with a steal and he was undercut while he was in the air for a break away score. Moore was uninjured and went to the line to shoot the intentional foul shouts, but a Cardinal player was hit with a technical foul when it was the Eagles player that was being the aggressor.
At one point during the fourth quarter, an Eagles player yelled back at an official’s call but was allowed to continue playing.
The Cardinals did a good job overall of playing with composure.
Chris Strahan handled the ball for most of the fourth quarter as he was able to smoothly slice between Eagles defenders when ever he wanted for points. He and Moore combined for 13 of the Cardinals 19 fourth quarter points.
Moore led the team with 19 points and five steals. Thompson scored 16 points followed by Strahan with 13 and Dashaire Ford-Burton with 10. Tyree Holliman scored nine points and added six rebounds. Demarcus Morgan got the start and scored three points in the first.