Lady Sharks play to win every night, even when totally overwhelmed. A 51-15 loss to Hernando Christian Academy didn't start out like a loss when Cedar Key girls fought the Hernando Christian reserve players to a standstill, forcing an 8-8 tie in the first quarter.
HCA head coach Jim Bragg sent in the starters as the second quarter began, but they, too, struggled against the hungry Lady Sharks.
Suddenly, the tempo and the weight of the game changed. Both sides dove for every loose ball, and lockdown defense was the rule of the evening. Unfortunately, more attention was paid to travels and double dribbles than to the intense physicality of the game. By the end of the night, two players were taken to the hospital after brutal on-court collisions. Fortunately, neither Heidi Riley of Hernando, nor Lindsay Edmunds of Cedar Key was seriously injured, but the event of the incidents showed the intensity with which the girls applied themselves to winning.
Once they recovered their equilibrium, HCA ran a full-court trap for most of the game, until midway through the fourth quarter.
Cedar Key was hard-pressed to put together a consistent offense, because every player with the ball was immediately doubled.
Nevertheless, the Sharks applied themselves to defense and to the glass at both ends. Edmunds had a couple of putbacks and Kacey Miller led her team with her aggressive slashes to the hoop.
Miller had nine points on the night, and Edmunds had four.
Cedar Key did better Tuesday in a narrow loss to district foe Meadowbrook, falling 40-24 at home.
"We lost 56-32 there, so this was a significant improvement for us," said girls' coach Chris Cowart.
The girls will be at the Branford Holiday Tournament, hosted by Branford High School, next Friday and Saturday .