Staff Photo by Gabriel Garcia
The Sequoyah Lady Chiefs stand together with the District 5-AA runner-up plaque after losing the title game Tuesday night to McMinn Central, 58-48.
|Published: 10:59 AM, 02/26/2013
||Last updated: 10:59 AM, 02/26/2013
Author: Gabriel Garcia
Source: The Monroe County Advocate
ATHENS - With two of the Sequoyah girlsâ€™ key players in foul trouble not even three minutes into the District 5-AA championship game, it was only a matter of time before state powerhouse McMinn Central made its runs.
And the top-seeded Chargerettes did, turning up the defensive pressure and forcing the No. 2 seed Lady Chiefs into 13 first-half turnovers. Sequoyah hung around but never recovered, falling 58-48 to take the runner-up plaque Tuesday at McMinn County High School.
The Lady Chiefs had staked out an 11-8 lead in the gameâ€™s first three minutes, but Central managed to saddle both Kassidi Freeman and Hunter Simpson with two fouls a piece during that opening stretch - a familiar script according to Sequoyah coach Eddie Gambrell.
â€śThatâ€™s kind of a common occurrence when we play them,â€ť said Gambrell, whose team would still host a Region 3-AA tournament opener Friday.
Emily Ingram nailed a trey to extend Sequoyahâ€™s lead to 14-8, but the Chargerettes lit a spark with their full-court press, harassing the Lady Chiefs into six turnovers - quite a few of them in the backcourt - to ignite a 16-3 run for the rest of the first quarter.
â€śWe lost our composure a little bit there, and we turned the ball over,â€ť Gambrell said. â€śA lot of it had to do with pressure that Central was putting on.â€ť
And Central kept putting on the pressure in the second quarter. The Lady Chiefs bit into their 24-17 deficit with Ingram laying in a transition hoops and Simpson sinking a couple of foul shots, but the Chargerettes again showed their live hands on defense, forcing four more turnovers to fuel a 10-2 run, with most of those points scored on free tosses after Sequoyahâ€™s girls fouled on Centralâ€™s fast-break attempts.
And Freeman and Simpson both picked up their third fouls, limiting the Lady Chiefsâ€™ defensive post presence and top penetrating threat, respectively.
Sequoyah hit the lockers down 38-27 and hung around for the second half. Central threatened to run away with the game after taking a 48-32 lead late in the third quarter, but the Lady Chiefs steadied a little bit with an Ingram transition bucket off a Savanna Atchley turnover recovery and assist.
The Lady Chiefs managed to scrap together a 7-2 run to start the fourth quarter, chipping their deficit to 50-41 on Freemanâ€™s hook from 10 feet. But they could get no closer after Centralâ€™s timeout.
â€śWe missed too many shots down the stretch,â€ť Gambrell said. â€śWe cut it to nine; we had a couple of stops on defense, come down on fast break, missed layups.â€ť
But Gambrell also gave his team credit for fighting to the end and not letting the game get out of hand.
â€śBoth teams played very, very hard, and it was a fun game to watch,â€ť he said. â€śThatâ€™s the only thing you could ask for.â€ť
MCMINN CENTRAL 58, SEQUOYAH 48
S 17 10 7 14 - 48
M 24 14 10 10 - 58
SEQUOYAH: Danielle Slack 3, Kassidi Freeman 4, Hunter Simpson 22, Savanna Atchley 1, Josee Weese 2, Emily Ingram 14, Cheney Welshan 2
MCMINN CENTRAL: Codi Tillman 7, Haylee Morrow 2, Peyton Williams 5, Kelsey Young 10, Elizabeth Masengil 18, Elizabeth Trentham 7, Bailey Gray 9
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