Late Push by East Hamilton Ends Rhea Season at Region
Chattanooga, TN — Rhea County Lady Eagles ended their season on Friday night in battle with East Hamilton in meeting between # 3 seed from district 6-AAA and # 2 seed of district 5-AAA to open region 3-AAA play with the 49-56 loss that was closer than final score. Mallory Hampton once again laid it out on the court on both ends of the court and scored 18 points to lead the Lady Eagles. Haley Cameron joined Mallory in double figures with 12 points. East Hamilton junior Madison Hayes led East Hamilton and filled the stat line with 29 points, 18 rebounds, seven steals, six blocked shots and five steals.
Madison Hayes led the way early for Lady Hurricanes with four of their first five baskets. Lady Eagles responded with four three point baskets, two by Madi Smith to earn 15-12 first quarter lead. Rhea County looked on pace to hit double figures in three point baskets, which has resulted in wins for the Lady Eagles.
Lady Eagles could not find the range in the second quarter and East Hamilton took advantage of Lady Eagles offensive woes(7 points) for 25-22 lead at half. Mallory Hampton led Rhea with 11 points and Madison Hays had 16 to lead East Hamilton.
Hayes and Laboo hit back to back baskets early in third to push lead to 30-24 but Hampton and Cameron counter with back to back threes to tie the game 30-30 with 5:22 left in third. East Hamilton to 32-30 lead but Lady Eagles countered with Welch and Haley Cameron corner three point makes to take 37-32 lead with 1:14 left in half. During the third, the Lady Eagles did good job on defensive boards to limit Lady Hurricane scoring chances. Mallory Hampton dropped home two free throws with 3.2 second remaining and Lady Eagles led 39-36 at end of three quarters.
Macy Welch hit elbow three in transition to push the Lady Eagle lead to 42-36 with 6:48 left in final quarter. Haley Cameron pulled down rebound and found Taylor open for a three in corner and Lade Eagle crowd roared as ball tickled the twines for the 45-36 lead, the largest of the game. That lead shrunk quickly as Hayes found Lacy Dezah on a give and go for basket with 5:54 left in game. Hayes hit the bank with 4:33 left and the she made steal and hit sister McKenna Hayes streaking down court for lay-in to cut the lead to 45-44 with 4:06 left in quarter.
With less than two minutes left in quarter, Maddi Smith found Mallory Hampton streaking to basket and the lay-in gave tied the game 48-48. Haley Cameron grabbed rebound and hit Hampton and coach Gill called timeout to set the play in the tie game. Madison Hayes then stepped in front of in-bounds pass and streaked from half court to make the go-a-head basket and the and one to put Lady Hurricanes up 51-48 with 1:31 left in game.east Lady Eagles came down and worked the ball around for open three but went long into hand of East Hamilton and Madiosn Hayes hit the next four free throws for 55-48 lead and teams trade free throws in the last seconds for the 56-49 final score.
East Hamilton (21-12 ) will face Stone Memorial (22-5, ) in a 3-AAA semifinal at 7:30 p.m. Stone Memorial is presently ranked # 5 in Max Preps statewide rankings. Bradley Central(28-3), which beat White County 63-48 in the first round, and Cookeville (22-10) meet at 6 p.m. in the other semifinal. Bradley Central is presently ranked # 3 in the state. A win by Bradley and Stone could setup a rematch with Stone Memorial who owns one of the three losses by Bradley this season, a 54-44 back in January.