CVCC’s season ends in semifinal loss to Sea Devils

CVCC’s season ends in semifinal loss to Sea Devils

LOUISBURG, N.C. — The Catawba Valley Community College women's basketball team will have to wait another year to make its first national tournament appearance in program history.

The second-seeded Red Hawks were handed a 90-54 defeat at the hands of third-seeded Cape Fear during the semifinals of the Region X/District J tournament on Friday afternoon at the Roger Taylor Arena on the campus of Louisburg College.

Catawba Valley ends its 2018-19 women's basketball season with a 24-6 overall record — the third-straight season its eclipsed the 20-win plateau.

"I am proud of my ladies," said sixth-year CVCC women's basketball head coach Tisha England. "Most people didn't think that we would get here and that we wouldn't make it, but we believed in ourselves."

In her final junior college game, sophomore forward Zharia Brown led the Red Hawks with 23 points and 16 rebounds — her 11th double double of the season. Fellow sophomore Sherry Johnson added 11 points and six rebounds.

CVCC was plagued in Friday's tournament game by poor field goal shooting, making just 2-of-14 attempts in the first quarter and 7-of-31 attempts by halftime, allowing Cape Fear (24-4) to gain a 43-19 advantage by halftime.

"At the beginning of the game, we just didn't knock down shots," England said. "We just didn't finish shots, and it kind of caught us off guard a little bit. Our defense kind of slacked a little bit. We picked it back up, but we had dug ourselves a hole, and it was just hard to get back out of it."

Down 24 points at the break, the Red Hawks played catch up during the third and fourth quarters, but continued to struggle from the field, finishing the contest with a 25.2 shooting percentage (22-for-87). CVCC also committed 22 turnovers, leading to its season-ending loss.

"At the end of the day, I'm truly thankful and truly blessed for these young ladies," England said of her players. "They have put the work in. It's bigger than basketball. So much stuff has happened in their lives outside of basketball. God gave them this gift and this tool, and they are using it to get an education and move forward in life. I'm thankful for that."

Friday's game was the final for five Catawba Valley sophomores — Brown, Johnson, Alizeya Mitchell, Milequa Eason and Danielle Rainey.

England said replacing the veteran group will be difficult, but the Red Hawks have a talented group of freshman returning to the court for their sophomore seasons this winter.

"It's going to be hard. Every year it is hard to replace a group, but the Lord always sends me another group through for us to keep moving forward," England said. "We'll be back."