NEW TAZEWELL, Tenn. — South Greene turned up the heat with their full-court press in the second half of Thursday’s District 2-AA Tournament game and broke open a competitive game as they went on to an 86-40 win over Cumberland Gap.
The Lady Panthers came out looking like they were capable of pulling the upset. They got four points each from Whitney Elliott, Ashley Ridgeley and Chelsea Bingham in the first quarter and trailed just 15-12 after one.
“We played them close up there and came out in the second half and played them close the last time we played them,” Cumberland Gap coach Sherrill King said. “I thought we might be able to do that here.”
Elliott and Ridgeley put in four more apiece in the second period while Bingham added three free throws and Tessa Brooks knocked down a 3-pointer, but the Lady Rebels slowly started to open up their lead. Alora Ricker scored eleven of her 18 points in the quarter and Maelyn Cutshaw, who led all scorers with 20 points hit two free throws with less than a second to play to push South’s lead up to 40-26 by halftime.
“The first half we kept ourselves in the game. The number one thing we talked about was boxing out. We gave up at least fourteen points on second chance shots in the first half and if we had eliminated those it would have been a lot closer. That was the biggest difference in the first half,” King said.
The Lady Rebels opened the second half with three straight steals that led to points. After a Genna Lake putback brought Cumberland Gap within 46-28, South scored the next 17 points to blow the game open. Cheyenne scored 13 of her 17 points in the third period and South Greene outscored the Lady Panthers 33-6 in the quarter to take a commanding 73-32 lead.
“We came out in the second half and they turned their defense up a little bit. We started making turnovers and they started converting and that was kind of the end of it,” King added.
South went on to win by 46.
Elliott led Cumberland Gap with 10 points while Ridgeley finished with eight and Bingham seven. Rachel Kimbrough added four points off the bench.
South Greene (21-10) advances to face either Greeneville or West Greene in Saturday’s 4 p.m. semifinal.
The loss ends the season for the Lady Panthers and was the final game for seniors Elliott, Ridgeley, Danielle Caldwell and Kierstyn Carmical.
“Our group of seniors have played extremely hard all year, they gave me every ounce of effort they had,” King said. “I wish the best for all of them.”
Bingham was named the the regular season all-district team while Elliott was honorable mention.
King said he plans to return to coach the Lady Panthers next season and is looking forward to hopefully improving on a 3-23 record.
“I’ve got some young kids coming up that can play, we had a pretty good JV team this year and those girls will be moving up,” he said. “We return some pretty good juniors so we should be OK.”
— — —
Cumb. Gap….12…14….6…..8 — 40
So. Greene….15…25…33…13 — 86
CUMBERLAND GAP (40): Whitney Elliott 10, Asheley Ridgeley 8, Chelsea Bingham 7, Rachel Kimbrough 4, Tessa Brooks 3, Kierstyn Carmical 2, Genna Lake 2, Candace Beeler 2, Amber Craig 2, Danielle Caldwell 0, Morgan Beeler 0.
SOUTH GREENE (86): Maelyn Cutshaw 20, Alora Ricker 18, Cheyenne Upton 17, Rachel Crum 10, Ashton Wynkle 8, Peyton Williams 6, Amber Jones 4, Javan Wilhoit 3, Callie Haire 0, Cheyenne Smith 0.