Natasha Cloud

Team Carrington surges to 92-85 win in fourth quarter comeback

Natasha Cloud © Athletes Unlimited, LLC 2022 / Credit: Jade Hewitt Media
W.G. Ramirez
Jan 27, 2022

LAS VEGAS — Natasha Cloud said the message was defense after Team Carrington fell behind by seven through three quarters Wednesday night.

And while she and her teammates were holding Team Mitchell to just 25% shooting in the fourth quarter, they used a 22-5 run en route to a 92-85 victory on day one of Athletes Unlimited Basketball action.

“The whole game we kept saying in the huddle, ‘We haven’t played our best basketball yet,’ especially on the defensive end,” Cloud said. “We didn’t take any pride the first three quarters, so going into that fourth quarter that was our mindset, that we had to be a defensive team first.”

Isabelle Harrison scored a game-high 21 points to lead five players from Team Carrington in double figures, including Cloud, who added 18 points and a professional career-high 13 assists.

Jantel Lavender had 16 points and seven rebounds, while MeMe Jackson had 14 and captain DiJonai Carrington chipped in with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Team Mitchell was led by Tianna Hawkins, who had 18 points. Kelsey Mitchell had 17 points and Sydney Colson added 15. Imani McGee-Stafford had 11 rebounds to go with her five points.

“Our goal for this season, for Athletes Unlimited, is to put out a really good product that people want to watch,” Colson said.

Which is what the fans got for the nightcap of Wednesday’s doubleheader.

Lavender’s 3-point stroke with 7:13 left in the game gave Team Carrington a 74-72 lead, its first advantage since the early moments of the second quarter.

Team Carrington opened the quarter on a 22-5 run, with Team Mitchell getting a 2-pointer from Mitchell at the 7:04 mark, a 3-pointer from Hawkins at the 5:12 mark, and another trey from Colson at the 2:40 mark.

By then, however, Team Carrington was in control with an eight-point lead and cruised to the victory.

“Down the stretch we just kind of came together,” Lavender said. “Tash did a good job leading us. Our experience just kept us calm.”

Both teams came out firing to start the game, as Team Carrington opened a 25-24 lead after shooting 43.5% from the floor, led by Harrison and Cloud, who each had 6 points.

Team Mitchell shot 47.4% in the first quarter, despite hitting just 1 of 7 from 3-point range, and was led by Mitchell’s 8 points.

The entertaining see-saw battle over the first 10 minutes saw nine lead changes.

Trailing by one after the first quarter, Team Mitchell opened the second with scoring runs of 6-2 and 12-5 to take a 36-30 lead midway through.

Team Carrington got back-to-back 3-pointers from Jackson to pull within two, at 38-36, but Team Mitchell finished the quarter on a 10-4 run thanks to a blistering 68.8% shooting performance over the second 10 minutes and headed to intermission with a 48-40 lead.

Mitchell gobbled up Team Carrington’s ball-screen defense, or lack thereof, to create scoring opportunities and led both teams with 13 points at halftime. Team Mitchell shot 57.1% (20 of 35) from the floor after two quarters.

Team Carrington hit just 30.0% from the floor in the second quarter and a mere 35.2% in the first half, including 33.3% from 3-point range.

Harrison did everything she could to get Team Carrington back in the game, scoring 11 of her team’s 25 points in the third quarter. But every time Team Carrington made a run, Team Mitchell was there to answer with a balanced attack led by Hawkins’ contribution of 10 points.

But once the fourth quarter started, Team Carrington began its comeback.

NOTES: Harrison was named MVP 1 (+90) to round out the night with 442 points. Cloud took the MVP 2 honor (+60) and top spot on the leaderboard, tallying 562 points. Jackson was named MVP 3 for 30 additional points and 402 overall.

Each player on Team Carrington earned 250 win points for winning the first, third and fourth quarters, as well as the game. Team Mitchell, who outscored its opponent 24-15 in the second quarter, earned 50 points.

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