C.A. Johnson’s simple yet effective formula for success was on display in Monday’s first-round Class 1A girls basketball playoff game against Ridge Spring-Monetta.
The Region 3 champion Green Hornets (13-9) dominated on the glass and hounded the visiting Trojans into 42 turnovers on the way to a 52-30 win.
“Our plan is always the same — hit the offensive boards and keep up heat with our pressure defense,” second-year C.A. Johnson coach Morondo Lewis said.
The Green Hornets are riding an 11-game winning streak after going 2-9 during non-region play that included home-and-away sets against Dreher and Columbia.
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“It was tough, but those non-region games had us very prepared when we started up region play,” Lewis said. “Those games showed us what things needed solving, and we addressed those issues by the time we started playing schools our own size.”
After failing to win a region championship or pull off a single postseason win between 1971 and 2010 — a span of 40 seasons — Lewis has guided the long-suffering Green Hornets to two region championships with a combined 19-1 region record and two playoffs wins against Ridge Spring-Monetta.
The Green Hornets hope to keep things moving Wednesday at home against either Abbeville or St. Joseph’s. C.A. Johnson was eliminated by Christ Church in the second round a year ago.
“We set three goals for ourselves,” Lewis said. “The first was to win the region championship, the second is to win Upper State and the third is to win a state championship. Last season, we may have surprised some people, but this year with basically the same team, we’ve put high expectations on ourselves.”
The opener was decided early.
The Green Hornets built a 14-3 lead by the end of the first quarter, forcing 12 Trojan turnovers and establishing a 12-4 rebounding edge. Nakia Owens and Asia Coardes had six points apiece in the early run. C.A. Johnson upped the advantage to 23-6 by halftime.
Ridge Spring-Monetta’s best effort came in the third quarter when it shot 7-for-9 from the field, but the Green Hornets had a 35-21 edge entering the fourth quarter. A 12-3 run put the game out or reach after the Trojans moved within 37-25 with 6:40 to go.
Owens matched her season high with 19 points, and the junior point guard also had six steals. Deja Smith and Coardes backed Owens with eight points each. Smith also contributed eight rebounds and five assists.
Ridge Spring-Monetta center Shay Robinson led the Trojans with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
RSM: M: Hines 3, Gomillion 3, Shay Freeman 15, Brown 6, Tyler 3. CAJ: Furtick 5, Nakia Owens 19, Smith 8, Flowers 2, Coardes 8, Young 5, Moye 3, Cheeseboro 2.