CCS girls advance to Final Four

Published 12:10 pm Thursday, February 12, 2009

Playing for an AISA championship in the state capital is nothing new for the girls of Cornerstone Christian athletics. For the past two seasons, they’ve suffered only one loss on the softball diamond, winning back-to-back 1A titles.

But on Thursday the Lady Chargers (22-5) entered uncharted territory at Huntingdon College, advancing to the Final Four with their first win in the girls’ basketball state tournament in school history, 43-26 over Warrior Academy.

“It’s really exciting,” senior point guard Brittany Calma said. “Especially to go from barely winning a game (a few years ago).”

Calma, the only senior on the team, is a softball player by trade just as most of the team’s starters.

“When it gets warm I have trouble keeping their attention,” CCS head coach Keith Youngblood joked.

But the bats and gloves will remain in the shed a few more weeks, while star pitcher Chelsey Dunnaway and others look to match the CCS boys’ basketball success on the hardwood.

Dunnaway led CCS with 14 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Used to catching Dunnaway on the diamond, Kailey Goodwin received most of Dunnaway’s assists, scoring 12 points in the game. Nichole Davis added eight points in the win and freshman Destiny Dillard had eight rebounds.

Most of the year Cornerstone has worked to keep games in low figures by rebounding the ball hard, usually shooting between 25-28 percent on offense. But the Lady Chargers saw a bump offensively Thursday, shooting 39.3 percent in the first half and 35.2 percent for the game.

“Any time we’re over 30 is good for us,” head coach Keith Youngblood said. “I think the win lets us get comfortable.”

Dunnaway admits that nerves will still remain though when CCS returns to Huntingdon Feb. 18 for the semifinal against Wilcox at noon.

“It’s nerve racking, but we’ve got to go out there and work hard,” Dunnaway said.

Calma simply said she’s praying for a win to be able to play in next Thursday’s championship.

Cornerstone began the year slow, but have won 17 straight games after losing two of three in a New Year’s tournament at Dixie Academy, earning a Top 10 ranking in the AISA to finish the year.