FREDERICK -- The thought going in was the chase for the Central Maryland Conference crown would be a three-, maybe, four-team race.
All along, the South Carroll Cavaliers have had other ideas.
The No. 7 Cavs continued to run away from the rest of the field last night, coming away with a 82-56 win over Thomas Johnson.
It was the 16th straight win for the Cavs, who improved to 8-0 in conference play and set a school record for points scored.
The Cavaliers (16-1) took a 42-29 lead into the half and the Patriots (9-8, 3-4) did a good job of keeping it that close.
South Carroll had everything working.
It started with a swarming team defense and ended with senior point guard Amber Clutter (10 points eight assists), who found Nicole Spencer (20 points, 11 rebounds), Melissa Gettemy (17 points) and the rest of the team. Ten Cavaliers scored.
"We came out well, played good defense and it opened up a lot of easy shots for us," said South Carroll coach Al Skierski. "We took them out of their offense and were only allowing one shot and that got us out and running."
The first time these two teams met in South Carroll, Thomas Johnson jumped out to a 18-3 lead before the Cavaliers recovered and went on to a four-point win. There was no doubt this time around.
"The first time we played them we jumped out to the 18-3 lead after the
first quarter. They came out determined to stop that tonight," said Thomas Johnson coach Chris Krivos.
"You have to give them a whole bunch of credit, they're an outstanding ballclub. It didn't matter what combinations we used."
Spencer, Gettemy and Clutter led the Cavs to an 18-6 lead after one.
Gettemy found Spencer inside early and Clutter followed that with a three-pointer to give the Cavs an early 7-1 lead.
Spencer went to work in the second quarter with eight points -- all from inside -- and Gettemy added six more, including a finger roll from the baseline and another drive late.
Thomas Johnson tried to keep it close with some strong inside play from Judy Whims (13 points) and Janie Marshall (11 points), but the Cavaliers simply had too much and put the game out of reach in the opening minute of the third when Gettemy scored five straight points. It gave South Carroll a 47-29 lead that would increase to as many as 26 with Skierski using his entire bench for much of the second half.
"This is a good team we beat," Skierski said. "We got total contributions from the whole team."