Lady Highlanders can’t get over the hump in Region 1-A title contest
Published 4:11 pm Thursday, March 4, 2021
BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
BAILEYTON – People can add one more thing to the adage that close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades and that would be basketball.
If one doesn’t believe that just ask the Cloudland Lady Highlanders who were oh so close to getting over the hump in their Region 1-A Girls Championship against North Greene only to see the Lady Huskies go on a 9-2 run to secure the win, 55-42, and gain a home sectional game.
The Lady Huskies (24-7) will host Tellico Plains (24-1) while Cloudland now returns to Oneida (23-6) where the Lady ‘Landers lost a heartbreaker on a buzzer-beater on their last visit.
If there was one difference in the contest, it came in the opening quarter of action as North Greene simply couldn’t miss as the host Lady Huskies jumped out to a quick 25-10 lead at the first horn.
Breezy Savage was the thorn in the Lady ‘Landers flesh in the opening period as she scored 10 points in the stanza with a trey and 5-for-5 effort from the charity stripe.
Region MVP Shelby Davenport was also doing her part to put the visitors in the hole as she added eight points.
Jasmine Birchfield accounted for seven of the 10 points scored by Cloudland in the opening eight minutes of play. Ella Benfield added a deuce while Saharra McKinney added 1-of-2 from the free-throw line.
Cloudland managed to claw back into the contest somewhat in the second period as the ladies from Roan Mountain outscored North Greene 12-3 making it a 28-22 game heading into the break.
Jasmine Birchfield once again played a big hand in the rally scoring six points with Ella Benfield close behind with five points. McKinney added another free throw to account for the 12 points.
Savage knocked down a pair of free throws and Sonya Wagner also hit 1-of-2 from the line to make up North Greene’s points.
The Lady Highlanders came out of the locker room and picked right back up where they left off in the first half as they outscored the Lady Huskies 14-11 to slice the lead down to 39-36 contest with eight minutes left to play in regulation for the title.
Jasmine Birchfield, Mandy Benfield, and Ella Benfield each pitched in with four points apiece in the rally. McKinney collected a pair of free tosses.
Davenport recorded six of the Lady Huskies 11 points in the third quarter.
The Lady ‘Landers pulled within one point in the fourth quarter with Savage and Haleigh Bernard on the bench saddled with four fouls each but the Lady Huskies dug in and never allowed Cloudland to get over the hurdle to take the lead pulling away down the stretch to seal the win.
North Greene scored a couple of baskets on snowbirds in the closing seconds to make the margin appear larger than it was.
Savage finished with 19 points to lead the Lady Huskies while Davenport added 16 points in the victory.
For the Lady ‘Landers, Jasmine Birchfield finished with a game-high 22 points. Ellas Benfield also hit double figures with 12 points.
Region 1-A Girls Championship
North Greene, 55-42
Jasmine Birchfield 22, Ella Benfield 12, Mandy Benfield 4, Saharra McKinney 4.
North Greene (55)
Hailee English 2, Emily Britton 7, Sonya Wagner 1, Breezy Savage 19, Shelby Davenport 16, Haleigh Bernard 4, Brooklyn Anderson 6.
Cloudland……… 10 12 14 6 – 42
North Greene…. 25 3 11 16 – 55