Towering over most defenders, Khadijah Cave knew the opportunities were coming, most likely in bsunches.
Cave anchored Laney’s post prowess, which followed an early barrage of 3-pointers, to help the Lady Wildcats beat Cross Creek, 67-42, on Wednesday night in the Holiday Round Ball Classic girls championship game at Laney.
“We had the height advantage,” Cave said. “(Coach Otis Smart) was telling us to keep passing it down low.”
The Lady Wildcats’ size was too much to handle, with Cave and Simone Smith controlling the battle inside.
Cave scored 10 of her game-high 20 points in the second quarter. She scored by shooting over smaller defenders with a hook or receiving passes inside from players like a driving DeKoya Mack.
Laney (10-1) led 34-18 at the half.
The Lady Wildcats continued to come down with offensive rebounds on one sequence before Smith finally got fouled and hit two free throws.
Smith had 10 points in the game and Cross Creek (10-1) often had one-and-done offensive trips with Laney’s edge in stature.
But it wasn’t all about the size, though Cave’s block on a Cross Creek 3-point attempt certainly helped.
The Lady Razorbacks’ quickness might have led to some steals and quick points – Ashleigh Outler and Breanna Bryant both converted easy buckets after steals – but Laney’s guards also contributed.
In the opening minutes, three Lady Wildcats hit a 3-pointer as Laney went on to take the first quarter, 17-8.
Mack was the most successful long-range shooter in the game, knocking down four 3s on her way to 18 points. Jermeka Gibson and Katice Williams also connected from downtown.
But the backcourt also executed the transition game well, taking missed Cross Creek shots for scores moments later.
The Lady Razorbacks still tried to rally to keep their unbeaten mark alive, with Kaela Patrick hitting a 3-pointer to make it a 17-point contest in the fourth quarter.
But the all-around play helped Laney’s lead grow to as much as 31 points.
“It was a good test for us,” Smart said. “But we got to get much better.”