‘Landers to face Huskies in 1-A championship

Published 11:32 pm Monday, February 28, 2022

BY ALLEN LAMOUNTAIN
STAR CORRESPONDENT
GRAY – Monday night saw the girls District 1A basketball semifinal at Bobby Snyder gymnasium with Unaka (24-9) opening against North Greene (23-12) and Cloudland (19-8) taking on Hampton (19-15).
Cloudland broke open an 8-8 first quarter game with 14 second-quarter points to take a 22-14 halftime lead. Isabella Christman scored eight points in the first half and the Lady Highlanders enjoyed a 12-6 rebounding edge over the Lady Bulldogs.
“It was a hard fought battle,” Lady Highlanders head coach Matt Birchfield said. “Whenever you play Hampton you have to hit your layups and free throws. Down the stretch we made our foul shots.”
Cloudland was just one-of-eight from the stripe in the first half only to hit 18-of-23 foul shots in the second half. Hampton hit just three-of-10 from three-point range in the first half. The third period was a dead heat with both squads scoring 10 which kept Cloudland with an eight-point advantage heading into the fourth quarter at 32-24.
Sophomore Saharra McKinney scored a game-high 20 points for Cloudland on a variety of drives to the hoop and second chance shots. Ella Benfield added 15 points and 10 rebounds.
“Somebody had to step up and I kept driving to the basket every time I got the ball,” McKinney said. “I just tried to step up and help my team. Our effort was there and the posts kept getting rebounds and they just pounded it inside.”
The fourth quarter was a see saw affair with both teams lighting up the scoreboard. Junior Kendall Birchfield hit a trey to make it a 38-30 game for the ‘Landers with 5:12 remaining but Hampton closed it to six after free throws from Linsey Jenkins.
The Lady Bulldogs closed the game to within 47-43 with 2:32 left but the ‘Landers answered with free throws from McKinney and Ryan Turbyfill to make it a 51-43 contest.
Hampton could not close the gap any further and closed out a season in which they may have been the most improved team in the Watauga Valley Conference. Junior Madison McClain scored a team-high 17 points for the ‘Dogs with Jenkins scoring 11.
“I’m real proud of them,” Lady Bulldogs head coach Brandon Carpenter said. “Nobody plays harder but we came up a little bit short. We’ll come back next year and be stronger and I am so proud of what they accomplished this season.”
Game One
North Greene …54
Unaka ………….36
North Greene played splendid defense as they held Unaka to 14 first-half points and rolled to a 54-36 victory to move on to the District championship. North Greene forced nine first half turnovers from the Lady Rangers and breezed to a 25-14 halftime advantage.
The Rangers opened the third period with a 13-3 run to knot the game at 34-34 but the Lady Huskies got a trey from Shelby Davenport and ended the period with a 41-34 lead going into the final period.
The Huskies held the Rangers to just two fourth-quarter points and won going away, hitting seven free throws down the stretch. Seniors Shelby Davenport and Brooklyn Anderson each had 13 points for North Greene while Lyndie Ramsey – who came into the contest 31 points shy of 2,000 for her tremendous career – finished with a team-high 13 points.
Senior Macy Ensor scored nine for the Rangers.
Girls 1A Semifinal
Bobby Snyder Gym
Game One
North Greene 54-36
Unaka (36)
Simerly 6, Ramsey 13, Forney 2, Ensor 9, Whitehead 6.
North Greene (54)
Sanders 9, English 5, Britton 4, Davenport 13, Wagner 7, Anderson 13, Bailey 3.
Unaka …………    8    6  20    2 – 36
North Greene..  12  13  16  13 – 54
3-point goals: U 9 (Ensor 3, Ramsey 2, Simerly 2, Whitehead 2), NG 6 (Davenport 3, Sanders, Anderson, English 1).
Game Two
Cloudland 59-52
Hampton (52)
Helle 10, M. McClain 17, Henry 5, Davis 3, Jenkins 11, Berry 6.
Cloudland (59)
Benfield 15, McKinney 20, Turbyfill 8, Christman 8, Fields 5, Birchfield 3.
Hampton …..  8    6  10  28 – 52
Cloudland ….  8  14  10  27 – 59
3-point goals: H 7 (McClain 5, Jenkins, Berry), C 2 (Fields, Birchfield).

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