Sullivan Central couldn’t maintain a 12-point third-quarter lead, and veteran Chuckey-Doak fought all the way to a 71-67 victory in the Region 1-AA girls basketball semifinals Monday night at the Lady Black Knights’ gym.
Chuckey-Doak (19-8) earned its first sectional berth since 2012, and moved into Wednesday’s championship at 7 p.m. against Greeneville (17-13). In the first semifinal, the Lady Greene Devils shocked two-time defending Class A state champion South Greene, 61-58 in overtime.
With five seniors in the starting lineup, the Black Knights couldn’t be stopped once they got the momentum late in the third quarter. They cut the deficit to five points by the end of the period, and wasted little time to push ahead in the fourth. Once they got the lead, Central couldn’t grab it back.
“I think we just panicked,” said Central head coach Kristi Walling. “We practiced and prepared for all of their presses. We knew what was coming, but for some reason we didn’t keep our composure as well as we usually do.”
But Central’s sophomore trio certainly did its part. Abbey Crawford (21 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists), Peyton Sams (17 points, 8 assists, 3 steals) and Avery Leming (14 points, 4 assists) combined for 52 points. Sams also hit a 3-pointer with under 30 seconds left that cut the deficit to two at 67-65.
“At that point I thought we still had a chance,” said Walling. “With this team you never know. They’re going to keep fighting until that buzzer goes off.”
But Chuckey-Doak’s Taylor Southerland and Brittney Ramsey combined for four free throws to ice the win.
Central got a nice finish from senior Taylor Sanders. She had nine points, 11 rebounds and three assists.
“That’s the type of player she has been for us all season,” said Walling.
BLACK KNIGHTS’ LEADERS
Southerland finished with 26 points and eight rebounds while Erica Lamb added 10 points, nine assists, five rebounds and three steals. Kassidy Holloway added 17 points and four assists.
“The girls worked hard and never gave up,” said Chuckey-Doak coach Beth Frye. “Having a lot of seniors may have been a factor. You can certainly use it in the huddle.”
Greeneville 61, South Greene 58
Alayna Collins kept coming up with dramatic plays in the late stages of the game while teammate Sydni Lollar remained cool under fire.
That combination was a big part of Greeneville’s stunning win. Lollar finished with 23 points, eight rebounds and five assists while Collins totaled 11 points and nine rebounds. Greeneville also got 13 points from Baylee Jones.
Taylor Lamb, South Greene’s Miss Basketball finalist, turned in 16 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Teammate Morgan Williams added 15 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Kinsey Wykle had 11 points while T.K. Franklin chipped in with nine.