CAMDEN Inhale. Now, exhale.
It wasn't easy, but the Camden Fairview Basketball program swept Crossett at the Birdhouse on Friday night. The Lady Cardinals dominated the Lady Eagles almost from the opening tip and went on to win, 57-36 and the Cardinals boys overcame a slow start to win, 53-52.
The young Lady Cardinals stumbled late in a several games this season that they could've arguable won and a 44-40 road loss in Crossett was won of them.
Friday night was different.
The Lady Cardinals played with a renewed confidence against the speedy Lady Eagles. Karmen Johnson opened up the offense with a couple of early threes while pressure defesne from Nicole Sanders, Tamia Dandridge and Jakyree Spencer led to break away layups. CF also got a big lift from Amiyah Davis off the bench who was able to drive inside for close points. The home team would lead by as many as 17 points in the first half and go into the break with a 32-20 advantage.
The Lady Eagles would make it a nine-point game briefly in the third, before the Cardinals would again execute on the defensive end and pound the glass. Dandridge and Jhiya Jefferson finished with 16 points followed by Johnson with 10.
Cardinals prevail in emotional battle
The Cardinals found themselves down 14-4 in the opening segment as Crossett was able to use the home team's momentum against them. As CF scrambled for loose balls and aggressive defense, Crossett often caught the Cardinals out of position for open looks.
CF would settle in in the second quarter and cut the deficit down to two points after an 11-3 run. But a technical foul led to the Eagles getting a couple of free points.
The Cardinals teased taking a lead throughout the third. After Jaden Bates hit two free throws to make it a one-point game at 34-33, the Eagles would respond. Down 38-34, the Cardinals would inbound a pass with about three seconds left in the third from its own baseline and Christian Strahan was able to find Corey Lockhart for a turnaround baby hook shot at the buzzer to make it a one-possession game.
The lead would continue to excruciatingly allude the Cardinals as the home team had two break away attempts to tie the game early in the fourth but came up empty. Then at the 5:23 mark, Bates would sink a three to tie the game at 42. On the Cards next offensive possession, Bates would drive and score on a layup to put the Cardinals ahead. The lead would be short lived though, as Crossett's Derek Lucky (18) would hit a three to reclaim the lead. CF would stay composed and respond when JaQuavious Strickland would draw the defense and needle a pass to Daylan Jackson for a score. Jackson would also capitalize on a three-point opportunity before the Cardinal defense forced a steal and Strickland tossed it to Bates for another layup to put the Cardinals up five points half way through the quarter. Lucky was trapped against the sideline as he attempted to dribble up court before he was bailed out when Strickland was called for a controversial fifth foul. The Cardinals found themselves clinging to a 53-52 lead with 33 seconds left in the game. CF buckled down and played disciplined defense before Lucky - who hit a game winner at CF last year - attempted a floated that went off the back iron. Sophomore Tre King soared for a rebound before the Cardinals called a timeout. The Eagles would commit their 7th foul immediately after the inbound pass to put the Cardinals on the line for a one-and-one with 2.6 seconds left. Strahan, who played the entire game, came up just short on the free throw and the Eagles used their final timeout to draw up a play. Crossett would get a decent look from beyond the arch but it was off the mark and the Cardinals survived for the win.
Bates led the team with 16 points followed by Jackson with 11, Lockhart with 10 and Strahan with 9.