• 61°

Lady Highlanders topple South Greene in thriller

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
ivan.sanders@elizabetthon.com
Two teams that traditionally look to advance deep in post-season play in the Class 1A Cloudland Lady Highlanders and the Class 2A South Greene Lady Rebels hooked up in early season prep basketball action during the Food City Thanksgiving Classic at East.

When the horn sounded to bring the game to an end, the Lady Highlands pulled out a thrilling 34-29 victory.

Coach Matt Birchfield’s Lady ‘Landers trailed 20-13 at the intermission but a strong third quarter propelled them to the win.

In the low scoring affair, Cloudland saw Jasmine Birchfield score five points in the opening 16 minutes of action to help keep Cloudland in striking distance of the Lady Rebels.

Mandy Benfield and Leah Birchfield each tossed in four points apiece in the opening half.

South Greene’s Kiley Collins scored eight points to pace her team to the lead at the half as Collins knocked down a pair of treys and added a deuce.

Haley Kells also added a three-ball to help build the Lady Rebel seven-point lead.

The difference in the game came in the third period when the Lady ‘Landers put the defensive clamp on South Greene while finally finding an offensive rhythm to outscore the Lady Rebels 12-2 in the quarter to turn the halftime deficit into a 25-22 edge heading into the final quarter of play.

Leah Birchfield tallied four in the period while Benfield and Gracie Freeman tickled the twine for a trey each. Heaven Caraway chipped in with a deuce as well as Cloudland rallied.

Cloudland was able to maintain that advantage by outscoring the Lady Rebels 9-7 in the final eight minutes to take the big win.

Jasmine and Leah Birchfield each collected eight points apiece to lead the ladies from Roan Mountain. Benfield tossed in seven points.

Caraway and Freeman contributed with four points each while freshman Saharra McKinney nailed a long-range trey in the fourth quarter.

For South Greene, Jayden Merriweather came alive in the second half to lead the Lady Rebels with nine points in the contest. Collins finished with eight points.