Marietta (8-0, 2-0) took advantage of four 3-pointers — and nine turnovers — to outscore Cherokee 25-8 in the third quarter.
“We were just more patient (in the third quarter) than we were in the first half,” Marietta coach Ken Sprague Jr. said. “In the first half, we were rushing things too much. But, in the second half, we were more patient. Offensively, we just ran our stuff and played with much more patience.”
Marietta also got a big boost from Jasmine McSwain, who scored 12 of her game-high 20 points, and two of the Lady Blue Devils’ four 3-pointers, in the third quarter.
Courtney Sprague added 16 points and went 9-for-10 from the free-throw line for the Lady Blue Devils.
Aunesha Williams scored 12 points to lead Cherokee (5-2, 1-1).
Marietta led 16-6 at the end of the first quarter, but Cherokee outscored the Lady Blue Devils 12-8 in the second quarter to narrow the gap to 24-18 at halftime.
Marietta was up 27-20 with 7:03 remaining in the third quarter when McSwain hit a 3-pointer to increase the Lady Blue Devils’ advantage to 30-20 — their first double-digit lead of the game — with 6:41 left.
Kayla Wilson scored on a transition layup to increase Marietta’s lead to 32-20 with 6:16 remaining in the third quarter. After Williams scored on a transition layup of her own to cut Cherokee’s deficit to 32-22 with 5:51 left, McSwain scored on layups with 5:22 and 4:42 left to push the Lady Blue Devils’ lead back up to 36-22.
Cherokee got within 12 points when Sara Byers made a pair of free throws with 3:02 left, cutting the Lady Warriors’ deficit to 38-26.
But Marietta proceeded to hit three 3-pointers in a row. Wilson nailed the first 3 with 2:41 left, followed by McSwain with 1:50 left and Sprague with 1:33 left — off of a steal by McSwain — to give the Lady Blue Devils a 47-26 lead.
McSwain’s steal and layup with 51 seconds left completed what turned out to be a 10-0 run, and it gave Marietta a 49-26 advantage at the end of the third quarter.
“We just committed too many turnovers,” Cherokee coach Matt Cates said. “We made too many mistakes and Marietta did a good job of taking advantage of that and that was the difference in the game.”
Cherokee trailed 22-12 with 2:47 remaining in the first half, but the Lady Warriors closed the gap some when Williams scored on a couple of putbacks and Bree Wells hit a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to 22-18 with 1:15 left.
But a pair of free throws by Sprague with 32.8 seconds left gave Marietta a 24-18 lead that it took into the locker room at halftime.