Lady Bees sting Elizabethton in Class 3-A quarterfinals of BlueCross Basketball Championship
Published 2:09 pm Wednesday, March 9, 2022
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BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
MURFREESBORO – The Lady Bees came out of the block with playing with some sting as they quickly built a 20-12 lead at the end of the first quarter of play behind the inside and outside play of post Abigail Johnson and Miss Basketball candidate Brooklyn Crouch.
Elizabethton struggled offensively as they tried to adjust to the depth perception behind the goals with several shots that the Lady Cyclones are used to making as many hit off the front of the rim or missed completely.
The second period was much the same as the first as Upperman continued to work the ball inside to Johnson, a 1,000 point scorer, while backdoor cuts allowed for a couple of easy layups for the Lady Bees as they built their lead to 31-17 at the break.
Johnson had 12 at the break while Crouch had eight to make up the significant portion of scoring for Upperman.
Renna Lane led the Lady Cyclones in the first half with seven points. Olivia Holly connected for a pair of treys as well for six.
For the half, Elizabethton was 7-of-25 from the field for a 28% clip while Upperman connected on 13-of-23 shots – 57%.
The second half started out the same as the first as Johnson collected an easy layup to start the half but the Lady Cyclones still had fight left as they continued to battle to stay in the contest.
Elizabethton finally found some footing in the fourth quarter behind the play of Lyon who found some success in the paint and Reiley Whitson who drained the bottom of the net on two treys as the Lady Cyclones cut the lead down to 10 points on a couple of different occasions.
However, the mark of any good team is to be able to answer an opponent’s run, and down the stretch that was what the Lady Bees did as they took advantage of being in the bonus and hit their free throws to build the lead back out and ultimately ending the Lady Cyclones successful 2021-2022 campaign.
The Lady Cyclones were led by Lyon who finished with a team-high 14 points after only connecting for four in the first half. Lane added a trey in the second half to finish with 10.
Johnson was the game-high scorer for Upperman as the junior logged 24 points. Crouch finished the game with 15 while Jayla Cobb added 12.
Lady Bees head coach Dana McWilliams was proud of the team play of her Lady Bees in the victory.
“We played really well today as it was a total team effort,” McWilliams said. “We didn’t know anything about them but we knew they could shoot well and that #4 (Lyon) was a really good player.
“I thought Abigail had a great opportunity on the inside today and if you get it in there she’s going to score. Our girls are very confident in one another.”
Miss Basketball finalist Crouch said that not being able to complete the 2020 tournament and missing last year was a driving force for her.
“It really gave me the motivation this year to come back after having the tournament canceled due to COVID-19 and then not qualifying last year,” Crouch said. “We have such high expectations and I take it as a challenge.”
Elizabethton Lady Cyclone head coach Lucas Andrews spoke on the challenge of falling behind by a big lead on this stage and having to fight back.
“We knew we had to take it one possession at a time and they called a timeout in the middle of the third quarter with about three minutes to go and it was a 13 to 14 point game and we knew we had to try and get it under 10 going into the fourth because we knew it was going to be tough because there are no bad teams down here,” said Andrews. “We knew it was going to be an uphill battle but our kids kept fighting to the very end trying to get our rotations and do what we were supposed to do.
“We knew when these kids came in they had a great opportunity as freshmen and nobody really counted on us back home and kept saying maybe next year when we had seniors. But they went out and played with a chip on their shoulder. You can’t mimic the pageantry of being in the state tournament so I am excited we got the opportunity and I told them in the locker room that no one is going to handle it to us next year. We are going to have to work extremely hard to get back here.”
Junior Lady Cyclone Lane said that even though the Lady Cyclones fell short that the experience will be something to build on.
“I take this as a positive to build on for next year,” said Lane. “Everybody said we would make it here next year but we proved everybody wrong. I don’t every want to feel again the way I am feeling right now.”
Lyon said there will definitely be a lofty goal entering next season.
“I will be a senior and I want a gold ball,” Lyon said.
The Lady Cyclones finished the season with an overall record of 27-7.
2022 BlueCross Basketball Championships
Class 3-A Girls
Olivia Holly 6, Lina Lyon 14, Renna Lane 10, Marlee Mathena 4, Reiley Whitson 6, Katie Lee 2.
Brooklyn Crouch 15, Bella Mullins 3, Emma Conradi 5, Jayla Cobb 12, Abigail Johnson 24.
Elizabethton …….. 12 5 10 15 – 42
Upperman ……….. 20 11 13 15 – 59
BY THE NUMBERS
Points in the paint
for Lady Cyclones in
Largest lead in the
game for Upperman.
Closest the Lady
Cyclones got in
the second half.
Largest lead by
Elizabethton in the
game at 7:47 of first