Lady Eagles defeat White 78-68 to earn rematch with Stone
Evensville, TN — The Rhea County Lady Eagles’ basketball team defeated White County High School on Saturday to earn District Tournament Championship game against Stone Memorial, the team they shared the regular season title with. The Lady Eagles beat the Lady Panthers in the last game of the regular season to gain a split of the title after dropping thier game against Stone on the road, earlier in the month. So this game will be about a tournament title, a tiebreaker for season series and a better seed in the region tournament.
The Lady Eagles faced White County in their first action in the district tournament and they looked to get revenge for the loss by the Lady Eagles in White County earlier in the month.It was an unusual season series as the first game against White County 90-64 back in January and then lost at White County 76-65 just before season ended. That loss cost the Lady Eagles sole possession of the regular season championship. So which teams would show up for this one, the White County team that played so well at home or the one that Lady Eagles routed in Rhea County.
Rhea County 78 White 68
It quickly became apparent the win at White County was no fluke. White County came out strong and after an early lead, the Lady Eagles worked themselves into a tie at 10:10 with 4:38 left in first quarter. A Hampton inside basket gave the Lady Eagles a 13-12 lead with 1:13 left in the quarter but it was White taking the 17-13 lead at the end of quarter with late 5-0 run with baskets by Green and Reeves.
Early in the second the Lady Warriors struck first to push lead to 19-13 but Micah Black beat White down the court and Maddie Smith made nice pass to pull Lady Eagles back to within four. The Lady Warriors maintained the lead until a Haley Cameron three from the elbow tied the score at 24-24 with 4:41 left in quarter. It was then Macy Welch time as the Freshman came up with three baskets, a free throw and a steal to put Rhea County up 33-29 with 3:05 left in the quarter. Due to the amount of fouls called, both teams spent a lot of time at line the rest of the quarter. Maddie Smith canned four freebies down the stretch and Lady Eagles also canned a couple of three pointers, one by Macy Welch, who had 13 second quarter points and the second a buzzer beater by Maddie Taylor, gave the Lady Eagles a 45-35 lead at the half. White County was 7-10 from the line in the quarter.
Early in the third quarter a nice Macy Welch feed to Haley Cameron resulted in a 50-37 lead for Lady Eagles. The Lady Eagle continued to hold a good lead in the third but lost both point guards as Maddie Smith and Caity Blevins picked up their third foul. A few seconds later Megan Anderson put a bound back in to cut the Lady Eagle lead to 53-48 with 2:06 left in third. With Hannah Leftwich working the boards, providing defense down low and scoring(11 third quarter point), the Lady Warriors battled back for 55-55 ties with 1:06 left when Leftwich from the floor passed to Reeves, who hit Anderson for the fast break layin for the tie. Leftwich would later give the Lady Warriors the lead 56-55 with 34 seconds remaining in the quarter and sank two more free throws with 6 seconds remaining to increase that lead to 58-55 at quarter’s end.
With 6:12 left in game Reeves hit a big three point basket to give White the 61-57 lead. A little later Paige Parker came up with big steal and was headed for basket with the streaking Black tipped the ball out of bounds. But White still continued it’s streak and took the lead and moments later Mia Murray hits two free throws to put White up 63-60 with 5:15 left in game. Later it was Maddie Smith finding the open Micah Black on fast break for a basket and free throw combo that tied the game at 65-65 with 4:17 left. With 3:11 on the clock Macy Welch found a weak spot down the middle for drive and basket for the lead 67-65. Then Mallory Hampton dove on loose ball and tied up White and on Lady Eagles got possession and Hampton came down and nailed the elbow two for the 69-65 lead. Next came a couple of more defensive plays as Black came up with loose ball and Hampton came up with block to stop White County on the offensive end.
With 1:44 left the Lady Eagles went into patient mode but Hampton saw an opening and scored another basket to pad the lead. It was Black again with the steal and a couple of rebounds to shutdown the Lady Warriors and Maddie Smith hit some big free throws in the last two minutes to give the Lady Eagles the final 78-68 margin.
On a night when the Lady Warriors worked hard to take Micah Black out of the equation, the Lady Eagles added a big plus when Macy Welch stepped up big with 22 point to lead the Lady Eagles while playing well on defense. Black though limited in basket attempts, made the best of her time with 8 points and numerous plays on the boards and on defense. Mallory Hampton had 17 points and her usual fine defensive game. Haley Cameron also played well on both ends and contributed 15 points. Maddie Smith despite being saddled with fouls most of the night continued to play aggressive on defense and find open teammates as well as being solid from the line with 10-12(and 5/6 in crunch time) while scoring 12 points. Also scoring were Maddie Taylor with 3 points and Mariah Martin with 1 point.
White County played tough and made this one a tough out for the Lady Eagles. Hannah Leftwich had 17 points as wells as a ton of rebounds and a couple of blocked shots to lead White County. Mia Murray had 14 points to join Leftwich in double figures. Also scoring were: Ogden and reeves with 8 points, Anderson 7, Reeves and Green 5, and Parker and Turner 2.