CROWN POINT — So now, as Bailey Farley descends the ladder with another strand of another net wrapped around her fingers, we know exactly how the Canterbury Cavaliers regard that big, fat Target-facade bull’s-eye Super Glued to their backs.
A fashion accessory. Really, that’s all it is.
“We like the target on our backs,” Farley said Saturday as the Cavaliers celebrated a workmanlike 74-50 dismantling of Lafayette Central Catholic and a fifth Class A semistate title in six years.
“There’s a lot of pressure on us, but it feels good, we like it, because we can live up to it.”
“You know what? It’s lot of fun,” sophomore Darby Maggard said.
And what do you say, Kindell Fincher?
“It’s a great motivator,” she said. “We just have to keep a good head on our shoulders and come ready to play every game.”
Canterbury will play Vincennes Rivet, a 58-50 winner over Southwestern, for the state title Saturday at Terre Haute.
In this one, five Cavaliers hit double figures, led by Farley (17 points), Maggard (16), Fincher (15), Aaliyah Gaines (12) and Katherine Smith (12). Canterbury trailed 6-5 a little more than two minutes in, and then the Cavaliers dropped the hammer, scoring 18 of the next 20 points and opening a 37-14 lead midway through the second quarter.
After that, things went slightly adrift. Led by Emily Denhart and Alanna Roswarski, who led Central Catholic with 18 and 14 points, respectively, the Knights went on an 18-4 run spanning the final 4:17 of the second quarter and first 3:15 of the third to draw within 41-32.
“They had a shooter that got loose in the corner and she was really on today,” said Canterbury coach Wayne Kreiger, referring to Roswarski, who dropped four three-pointers on the Cavs. “So basically we tried to match up with her whatever side she was on to slow her down and make some of the other kids get involved with the offense.”
And just like that, a 15-8 Cavaliers’ run to end the third and a 15-2 burst to start the fourth quashed any thoughts of an upset – a sequence ignited by a defense that forced 21 turnovers and converted those turnovers into transition buckets.
“Once we got it going, we came back really strong,” Farley said.
“We’ve stressed defense from the get-go, and these kids are buying that that’s the way we’re going to be successful,” said Kreiger, who’s headed back to state as a head coach for the first time since he took Columbia City there in 2000.
“If we go back through the tournament series and the season, it’s been our defense that’s given us the spurts that puts us in position to be successful.”
That, and a certain target-shaped fashion accessory.
“It’s been something we’ve talked about,” Kreiger said. “We’ve been very specific about the fact that we have to bring our ‘A’ game because we are the team that people want to beat. We always leave the locker room indicating that we can’t win the state tournament tonight, but we can lose it.”
“Next week, I won’t be able to say that. Well, … yeah, I will be able to say that. But from the standpoint of getting everybody’s best shot, we know that’s coming.”