The task became even more difficult with the news that standout junior forward Sierra Wynn will likely miss the remainder of the season after her knee injury was diagnosed as a torn ACL.
Cawood's revamped lineup survived its first district test Thursday at Evarts, edging the host Lady Cats 46-44.
"I think I'm going to enjoy this. It will be a big-time task for me," Cawood coach Bucky Burkhart said. "None of them have a lot of varsity experience, except for (senior guard) Whitney (Rhymer).
"We have to realign everything and get better, and I think we improved tonight, believe it or not."
Cawood (2-2) survived an extremely physical game by winning the 3-point battle. Both teams hit 11 free throws and Evarts led 15-14 in fields goals, but the Trojanettes connected on seven 3-pointers.
Freshman point guard Emily Boggs hit five 3-pointers on the way to a 28-point performance. Boggs also added four clutch free throws in the final 2:35 to give Cawood an eight-point lead. A pair of 3-pointers, one by Tiffany Jones with 1:12 left and another by Brittany Cornett at the buzzer, cut the final deficit to two.
"We were six-for-six in the second half, which is the big-time thing that we saw," Burkhart said. "For us to be better, we're going to have to drive to the basket, get fouled and shoot free throws."
Even though Evarts (0-6) remained winless, first-year coach Ed Harris is pleased with the improvement he's seen in close games this week against Jackson County and Cawood.
"We're getting better. I'm pleased with them and proud of them," Harris said. "They are all dedicated, and we will keep at it until we get it right."
Poor shooting again hurt the Lady Cats, who hit only 28 percent (15 of 53) of their attempts from the field.
"We missed two foul shots and about 12 layups," Harris said. "You can't blame referees or you can't say anything, because if you can't make your foul shots and your layups you're not going to win."
Cawood didn't shoot much better at 32 percent (14 of 44) from the field and also struggled from the line in the first half, missing 10 of 15 as Evarts gave the Trojanettes plenty of opportunities at the line with its aggressive man-to-man defense.
"Evarts played hard and played aggressive, and you expect that out of Ed's teams," Burkhart said. "I was proud of my girls for not backing down from it. They played as hard as they can play."
Each team had three field goals in the first quarter as Evarts took an 11-10 lead on a basket and 3-pointer from Jones.
Boggs hit four of six shots in the second quarter, including a pair of 3-pointers, as Cawood took a 25-24 lead.
With the score tied at 30-30, Boggs opened and closed an 8-2 run with 3-pointers. Tiffany Brock added two free throws as Cawood built a six-point lead heading into the final period.
Cawood's lead remained between six and eight points through most of the fourth quarter as Evarts missed 13 of 18 shots from the field.
Cornett scored 15 and Jones added 12 to lead Evarts.
Burkhart said the victory was bittersweet for him due to the death earlier this week of Arlo Steele, a well-known Clover Fork resident who served many years as a volunteer trainer for the Evarts High School football team. Burkhart worked with Steele when he was an assistant coach with the Wildcats.
"I have some really fond memories of Evarts, and most of them include Arlo Steele," he said.
Cawood returns to action Saturday in the prestigious Prime Time Classic at Lexington Catholic High School. The Trojanettes take on Henderson County at 2:45 p.m. Evarts returns to action Jan. 3 at Lynn Camp.
Courtney Bolin scored seven points to lead a balanced Cawood (1-1) attack in a 33-28 junior varsity win over Evarts.
Brittany Baker and Rebecca Hatmaker each added five points for the Trojanettes. Ashley Davenport and Samantha Brock each scored four. Kristie Middleton and Amanda Helton each tossed in three. Jyssica Williams scored two.
Kayla McCreary and Sierra Cochran scored eight and seven points, respectively, to lead Evarts (0-6). April Shackleford and Rhonda Couch each added four. Sam Cochran scored three. Kayla Flanary and Kendra Williams each added one.
Jackson County defeated Evarts 20-17 in junior varsity action Monday. Ashley Bingham, Cody Hill and Lesley Isaacs each scored four to lead the Lady Generals.
Shackleford led Evarts with 10 points. Sam Cochran, Williams and Mindy Smith each scored two. Flanary added one.
Emily Boggs 9-21 5-6 28, Whitney Rhymer 2-7 1-4 7, Allison Brackett 0-1 0-0 0, Cynthia Green 1-7 0-0 2, Tiffany Brock 1-5 5-8 7, Denna Burkhart 0-1 0-1 0, Ryan Miller 1-1 0-0 2, Brittany Baker 0-0 0-0 0, Jyssica Williams 0-1 0-2 0. Totals: 14-44 11-21 46.
Brittany Cornett 3-15 8-9 15, Amy Baird 1-4 0-0 2, Tiffany Jones 5-13 0-0 12, Sarah Pryor 4-10 1-2 9, Caitlin Enix 0-2 2-2 2, Beth Cochran 0-2 0-0 0, Samantha Cochran 0-2 0-0 0, Sierra Cochran 0-1 0-0 0, April Shackleford 2-3 0-0 4, Kendra Williams 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 15-53 11-13 44.
Cawood 10 15 13 8 46
Evarts 11 13 8 12 44
3-point goals: Cawood 7-24 (Boggs 5-15, Rhymer 2-4, Green 0-5), Evarts 3-12 (Jones 2-4, Cornett 1-5, Baird 0-1, Pryor 0-2). Rebounds: Cawood 24 (Green 7), Evarts 31 (Pryor 8). Turnovers: Cawood 19, Evarts 24. Fouled out: None. Technical fouls: Cawood (Brock).