Lady Rebels defeat Lady ‘Landers in overtime, 67-60

Published 12:23 am Wednesday, November 20, 2019



In 1974 Muhammad Ali fought George Forman in a boxing match that was nicknamed “The Rumble in the Jungle”. Monday night’s high school basketball game between the Cloudland High School Lady Landers and the South Greene High School Lady Rebels should be nicknamed “The Rumble in Roan Mountain”.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

It was everything except a street fight as Cloudland played the Lady Rebels in a thrilling contest that went into overtime and saw South Greene finally defeat the Lady ‘Landers, 67-60.

It was a game of firsts. It was the first game of the season for the Lady Highlanders. It was the first game for Cloudland’s new head coach Matt Birchfield since he took the job.

It was the first time this writer has ever seen a team foul out their entire starting line-up. Finally, it was the first time seeing the double bonus achieved in the third quarter of the game.

The game started as expected with the undersized Lady Landers fighting for every ball, rebound and shot. For many in the crowd, it looked like Cloudland was going to have their way with the Lady Rebels as Cloudland jumped out in front in the first quarter by a score of 12-4.

South Greene, who has won the Tennessee State Championships Girls Class A finals two out of the last four years may have been down but they were not out.

By the end of the first quarter, South Greene had taken a lead of 18-14 and the fight was just getting started.

Cloudland came back during the second period under the hot hand of Heaven Caraway and Jasmine Birchfield. South Greene was led during the quarter by their post player and sharpshooter Addison Williams.

Though it was close for most of the quarter, Cloudland took a 31-24 lead by the end of the half.

The third quarter turned out to be one of the strangest ever witnessed.  Gracie Freeman came out of the locker room and drained a three-point shot within seconds of starting the third quarter. This gave Cloudland a ten-point lead.

After South Greene scored, Karah Fields also hit a three giving Cloudland an 11-point lead. Then things got interesting.

South Greene began using their size to work inside the paint. It seemed that every time that they got the ball to one of their post players near the goal, they scored, were fouled, or both.

The fouls began adding up for Cloudland. Soon South Greene was in the bonus, and by the end of the quarter, the Rebels were in the double bonus which gives a player two shots from the foul line if he is fouled.

This allowed South Greene to get to within three points of the Highlanders before the quarter was over.

A late Cloudland surge kept the lead at seven by the end of the quarter, however, and the score was 44-37 when the third-quarter buzzer sounded.

Cloudland went into the fourth period with several starters in foul trouble. Meanwhile, South Greene entered the fourth already in the double bonus and only down by seven. Anything could happen.

Disaster then struck Cloudland during the fourth quarter. The young Cloudland team continued to foul and South Greene kept hitting foul shots.

Meanwhile, Cloudland was also having trouble on offense. Several of their better players were missing layups and relatively easy shots. The lead crumbled and before the quarter ended, four of Cloudland’s starters had fouled out.

With only four seconds left on the clock, South Greene’s Kiley Collins hit two more foul shots tying the score at 56 and putting the game into overtime.

The overtime period was a runaway for the Lady Rebels.

Cloudland’s final starter fouled out and Cloudland’s replacement players could do little with the Rebel’s defense. Meanwhile, South Greene kept scoring by shooting foul shots. Finally, the buzzer sounded giving South Greene a 67-60 win.

South Greene was led in scoring by Collins who had 24, including 16 foul shots while Jayden Merriweather had 16 points, including 14 foul shots and Addison Williams who scored 13 for the game.

Cloudland was led in scoring by Mandy Benfield and Gracie Cook who both had 11.

Heaven Caraway followed with nine, Jasmine Birchfield had eight, Karah Fields added six, and Kenzie Birchfield totaled five.

Taylor Hicks, Ella Benfield, and Kaylen Fields each had three and Leah Birchfield collected two points.

In other action, the Lady Lander’s JV beat South Greene, 26-24. Cloudland was led in scoring in this contest by Karah Fields who had nine and Taylor Hicks who had six.