Lady ‘Landers battle to end in loss in District 1-A Championship

Published 4:22 pm Tuesday, February 23, 2021

BAILEYTON – There were no surprises for either team as to what they were going to face in their opponent in the District 1-A Girls Tournament Championship played at North Greene High School as it was the third time this season the two teams had met on the hardwood but this one carried just a little bit more weight.

Cloudland and North Greene battled the full 32 minutes before the Lady Huskies managed to fend off the Lady ‘Landers attack to take a 38-32 victory to earn the District 1-A title.

Both teams earned a first-round home region game by virtue of making it to the championship game.

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North Greene took the first-half lead on the strength of a 9-6 first quarter as both teams scored 10 points in the second period as the Lady Huskies had a three-point advantage, 19-16, at the break.

Jasmine Birchfield had eight points in the first half to make sure her Cloudland team was within range heading into the second half. Mandy Benfield tallied four in the half while Gracie Freeman and Ella Benfield added two points each.

Lady Huskie post Brooklyn Anderson helped her team build the early advantage with eight points as well. Haleigh Bernard dropped in five points with Emily Britton, Sonya Wagner, and Breezy Savage contributing two points apiece.

Cloudland managed to cut into the Lady Huskie lead throughout the second half at one time narrowing the gap to one point however North Greene always seemed to have an answer pushing the lead back to five for much of the second half.

The thorn in the flesh for Cloudland was the inability to hit from behind the arc as Freeman was the only one who managed to record a trey in the game.

For the game, Jasmine Birchfield led the Lady Highlanders with 10 points with Freeman collecting nine points. Mandy Benfield finished with six points while Ella Benfield totaled five points. Saharra McKinney added two points.

Anderson led the Lady Huskies with 13 points and Bernard finished with 12 points.

“I can’t say anything about our effort,” said Cloudland head coach Matt Birchfield. “Defensively we did what we had to do to keep their scoring down.

“We didn’t shoot the ball well, especially from the three-point line. Outside, we have to be able to make some shots especially against a big post player – you have to be able to score a little bit.

“Our kids played their hearts out. We just couldn’t get over the hump. It’s not an elimination game at this point. We have to get ready to play at home on Friday.”

Named to the District 1-A All-Conference team was Saharra McKinney, Mandy Benfield, Heaven Caraway, Jasmine Birchfield, and Gracie Freeman.

Making the All-Tournament team were Mandy Benfield, Gracie Freeman, and Jasmine Birchfield.

Cloudland will play host to Washburn on Friday at 7 pm while North Greene hosts Jellico.