She did her part to help make that happen in the girls' title game against Sand Rock on Saturday at the Gadsden State-Cherokee Arena.
Ray finished with a game-high 18 points, including three 3-pointers, to go along with three assists and three steals in the Class 4A, No. 9 Lady Warriors' 57-44 victory over the Lady Wildcats. The win secured their third straight Cherokee County tournament championship.
"It feels great," Ray said. "As seniors, we want to carry on that championship tradition, and it's something we're really proud of. We all came out ready to play. Everybody just played their role. I'm so proud of my team."
So, too, was Lady Warrior head coach Travis Barnes whose team improved to 16-4 on the season.
"You could tell our spreading of the ball was great tonight," Barnes said. "We worked inside-out like we wanted to. We moved the ball well. We passed the ball well. That's just a great team win, especially for our seniors. We've got five seniors on this year's team, and it's good for them to finish out their careers with three county championships."
Sand Rock's game plan was to try and take away Lady Warrior senior forward Tori Davis. The Class 2A, No. 9 Lady Wildcats (15-5) limited Davis to 10 points and six rebounds, but Ray and several other Cherokee County players stepped up when they had to.
Jessen Burk and Emily Perry both contributed 10 points. Burk added four rebounds and a pair of assists. Perry drained a pair of 3-pointers off the bench to go along with two assists and two steals. Madison Brannon also connected on two treys and finished with seven points and four rebounds.
"We had to give up something to guard Tori," Sand Rock coach Lisa Bates said. "We had to have some help from somewhere. The people we were sagging off of were the people who were hot. They hit eight threes on us, and it just kept building that lead for them and we weren't scoring. We had some trouble with ball handling and getting us down into what we wanted to do on offense. I thought we played well in the first quarter, then we had some mental letdowns in the second and third quarters that hurt us."
Cherokee County coach Travis Barnes anticipated Sand Rock trying to take Davis away.
"That's what we talked about before the game," he said. "We knew they were going to pack in on Tori, so we knew we had to knock shots down and try to get the ball inside to her. I think Sand Rock's game plan was to make us shoot from the outside, and we just did a good job of putting those shots in."
It was the second game for both teams on Saturday. The Lady Warriors had to hold off Cedar Bluff 50-45, while Sand Rock advanced to the girls championship with a 38-32 victory over Spring Garden earlier in the day.
"Having to play two games, you could tell in the first half we were sluggish, but we gutted it out," Barnes said.
Added Bates: "Both teams had to play two games. It just came down to mental toughness, and they were mentally tougher than us today."
Sand Rock held a 13-12 lead at the end of the first quarter, but Cherokee County rallied to take a 25-19 lead at halftime. The Lady Warriors stretched their lead even further in the third quarter, holding a 40-27 advantage.
The Lady Wildcats were led by Courtney Rowe's 12 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals. Madison Smith and Shelley Sonaty both scored eight points. Smith added four boards, three steals and three blocked shots. Sonaty also had a pair of steals and a pair of rebounds. Emily Langley finished with five points, three assists, two boards and a steal.
"Sand Rock is a solid team," Barnes said. "They played us tooth and nail, but I think they just kind of ran out of gas there at the end."
B-Team Girls Championship
Sand Rock 41, Cherokee County 34
CENTRE - Maggie Lyn Lumsden scored 13 points and Mary Frances Brown tossed in 10 to lead the Sand Rock B-team girls to a 41-34 Cherokee County Tournament championship game victory over Cherokee County Saturday at the Gadsden State-Cherokee Arena.
Sand Rock led at each of the quarter breaks. The Lady Wildcats held a 12-7 advantage at the end of the first quarter and a 24-21 lead at halftime. Sand Rock was up 31-29 at the end of the third quarter.
Raven Williams led the Lady Warriors with 14 points. Kendal Perry contributed nine points and Keishona Medcalf finished with five.
Morgan Bone added eight points for Sand Rock.