Lady Mountaineers remain perfect in Classic
By Kelly Franklin | (email@example.com)
Three straight 3-point plays — one the old-fashioned way — and tight defensive play down the stretch helped Heritage (5-0) remain undefeated as the Lady Mountaineers pulled out a 56-49 victory over Morristown East in the first game of Saturday’s Thanksgiving Classic.
The Hurricanes (2-2) outscored Heritage 17-6 in the third quarter to enter the final round up 34-32, then the teams twice exchanged leads until three different Mountaineers hit unanswered triplets to pull away for the win.
East led 45-42 with just under five minutes to play in the second day of the Classic at Heritage, when Leah Thomas started the spurt with a driving layup and free throw. After an East miss, high-scorer Jordan Johnson (17 points) hit her fourth 3-pointer and Autumn Johnson repeated the long shot on the next Heritage possession to provide a 51-45 gap with just three minutes remaining.
The Heritage defense tightened up, denying East perimeter shots and limiting the Hurricanes to mostly one-shot possessions, then hit enough free throws when finally entering the bonus mark to seal the final 56-49 count for victory.
“That was probably the best defense we’ve played all year, right down the stretch,” Heritage head coach Rick Howard said, “and that’s when you’ve got to have it.”
The teams finished the first period with East up 10-9, but Heritage surged to take a 26-16 lead into the locker rooms.
The three East scoring leaders each hit 3-pointers in the third period while Heritage managed just 6 points to give the Hurricanes the 34-32 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Jordan Hayes (14), Lauren Blaylock (12) and Ellie-Kate Williams (10) paced the visitors, with big-bodied Blaylock also causing extra problems physically dominating the space in the lane.
In addition to Johnson’s game-high 17 points, Thomas finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Kassie Night added 13 points and seven boards. Abbie Burchfield was credited with five assists.
“I was proud of our kids fighting through the adversity, losing that lead then fighting back to regain it,” said Howard.
CAMPBELL COUNTY 62,WILLIAM BLOUNT 59 (OT)
In a war of attrition with 52 total fouls and five players — three for William Blount — exiting early from their infractions, the Lady Cougars came on strong in the fourth quarter and overtime to defeat the Lady Governors 62-59.
Campbell County’s Niki Ward drained a trey with 3.8 seconds remaining in regulation to force the extra period, then hit two clutch free throws with 12 seconds in overtime to make William Blount attempt a desperation 3-point shot in the final seconds, which missed at the buzzer giving Campbell County (1-3) its first victory of the year.
William Blount (2-4) started strong with leads of 19-8 after one period and 28-16 at the half and entered the fourth quarter with a seemingly comfortable 41-29 lead, but Jamie Mynatt and Ward both hit two bombs and the Cougars took advantage of several trips to the charity stripe leading to Ward’s dramatic final shot leading to the overtime.
Hannah Owens led the Cougars with 17 points, followed by Mynatt with 17 and Ward 15. Lindsey Roddy was the only Lady Gov in double figures, totaling 13.