TMSAA Class A State Tournament: Jr. Lady Landers fend off South Lawrence for chance at state title

Published 10:44 pm Friday, February 8, 2019

MURFREESBORO—A sign of a good team is composure under pressure.
And the Jr. Lady Highlanders displayed that characteristic during their 24-17 win over South Lawrence in the TMSAA Class A Girls State Semifinals inside Blackman Middle School.
After the Jr. Lady Highlanders came into the fourth period leading 19-12, South Lawrence worked themselves within one-point, 20-19, after a 3-point shot from South’s Emily Cozart and a foul shot from her teammate Katelyne Roberson. The Jr. Lady Highlanders, however, dug deep and rattled off back-to-back backs as Izabella Christman knocked down two layups en route to the Jr. Lady Highlanders victory.
“We froze a little a got a little hesitant,” said Cloudland head coach Matt Birchfield.  “One of their best shooters went down and made a big shot. The kids then came out of our timeout composed and took the ball to the hole. We executed our buckets two or three times in a row which was big for us”
The win earned the Jr. Lady Highlanders a spot in the first-ever TMSAA State Championship which was played Saturday morning inside Stewart Creek High School.
“It is great moment for the kids who have worked so hard to be a part of the this first-ever TMSAA state championship,” said Birchfield. “Hopefully we can gather something and play another good one.”
The Jr. Lady Highlanders headed into the half with a small 12-8 lead after slow offensive production in the second quarter. Cloudland would only post five points in the quarter as Saharra McKinney hit a bucket and Kendall Birchfield hit a 3-pointer.
The third quarter saw Cloudland Elementary’s Elle Benfield score five points in the frame to help the Jr. Lady Highlanders take a 19-12 lead into the fourth. Cloudland’s Ryan Turbyfill hit a shot to help her team’s cause in the third.
Overall, Benfield led the Jr. Lady ‘Landers with eight points while McKinney finished with seven which included a 3-pointer in the first quarter. Christman finished the game with four and Turbyfill had two.

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