WARRENTON, Ga.--- So often during her illustrious prep career, Warren County High School's Candice Warthen has helped her team win many games after they got down early. But against Calvary Day of Savannah in the second round of the Class A girls' basketball playoffs on March 3, not even Warthen could pull off a miracle comeback.
The Lady Cavs, who won the Class A state title two years ago, made sure that Warthen wouldn't be a factor.
"That was our main focus," said Calvary Day head coach Jackie Hamilton. "We knew if we could that that we had a chance to win."
Warthen, who signed earlier in the season to play college basketball at the University of Arizona next year, was held to just 14 points and four steals.
The loss brought to an end a sensational season for Warren County, finishing with a 24-5 record, as well as an end to Warthen's four-years as a starter for the Lady Screaming Devils.
Going into the game against Calvary Day, Warren County first year head coach George Lee said he felt his team was a legitimate top 10 team in the state and could match up well against their opponents.
Unfortunately for the Lady Screaming Devils, that wasn't the case.
"We pressed way too much," lamented coach Lee. "We didn't play well; we weren't relaxed, offensively. We missed way too many shots. We just got out of sink and weren't able to bounce back."
As for Warthen's career, coach Lee said his star player had had an "unbelievable" four years. "She's a true player of the game and I sincerely wish her the best in the future."
The win propelled Calvary Day into the quarterfinals against Savannah Christian -- a pair of Chatham County schools battling each other in Columbus. That game was played last Friday.
Against Warren County, Calvary Day's Kelsey Ellis was sensational, scoring 23 points. Another player, Sonny Canady, also hit double-digits with 12 points.
"The key to the win was the way we played defense," said coach Hamilton, who has guided the Lady Cavs the past five years.
In the first half, the Screaming Devils got off to a sluggish offensive start, rushing lots of shots. They tried to compensate by playing a little too aggressively from time-to-time and thus were called for several fouls. Officials tagged Warren County for 18 total fouls in the game as compared to Calvary Day which drew 9 total fouls.
Because of the number of fouls committed by the Lady Screaming Devils, the Lady Cavs made them pay another price at the free-throw line. Calvary Day connected on 13-of-16 shots, while Warren County went to the line just nine times, making five of free-throws.
Despite the sluggish offensive showing during the first half, Warren County still found themselves in the thick of things at halftime, as they trailed the Lady Cavs 24-17.
Warthen cut the opponents' lead to five points when she scored a quick layup just seconds after the third period got underway.
By midway of the third, the Lady Cavs began pulling away and never looked back.
Aside from Warthen's 14 points, other players scoring for Warren County in the state playoff game included: Takesia Harris, 10, Tianca Evans, 5 and Tynisha Harris, 3 points, respectively.