Cloudland point guard Courtney Clarke saw the seam in the defense.
A couple of seconds later, she found a wide-open Faith Russell for a winning lay-up in the Lady Highlanders’ 40-38 overtime victory over Creek Wood in the Johnson City Honda Invitational girls’ basketball tournament at Daniel Boone High School.
“We were supposed to actually run a play, but the two top guards came up to trap,” Clarke explained. “I penetrated that middle and saw Faith come out of nowhere. I had enough Faith in her for her to get it and she came through with it.”
Sevier County, Meigs County and Sullivan South won other quarterfinal games on Friday night.
Clarke had 13 points to go along with her winning assist, while Cloudland coach Matt Birchfield used a variety of defenses to hold Vanderbilt signee Rachel Bell in check.
Bell still managed a game-high 16 points for the Red Hawks, although she faced several double teams and even a couple of triple teams from the Cloudland defense.
“She’s a great player. Defensively, we knew we had to do all we could to keep it out of her hands as much as possible,” Birchfield said. We tried to deny her the ball when we could and run a lot of kids at her. We had a lot of kids who guarded her. It was a great effort out of our defense.”
The Red Hawks led most of the contest, ahead 19-14 at the half. It wasn’t until Courtney Wilson’s bank shot with 2:33 left in regulation that Cloudland (13-2) took its first lead.
From there, the teams battled back and forth with Haley Johnson’s 3-point basket giving the Lady ’Landers a 36-34 advantage. Brianna Spicer tied the game for Creek Wood, which saw Bell miss at the buzzer.
She missed another potential game winner, a half-court heave at the end of overtime.
Wilson matched Clarke’s total with 13 points as well as grabbing a game-high 12 rebounds. Russell ended with eight points, both delighted and relieved when the winning basket went through the net with 2.2 seconds left.
“When I got the ball in my hands I just thought, ‘I hope I hit it,’” she said. “When I made it, I couldn’t believe it.”
Sevier County 81, Daniel Boone 72, 2OT
Brittany Tarr scored 33 points and had a critical blocked shot with two seconds left in the first overtime to lift the Bearettes to the double overtime win over the host Lady ’Blazers.
Sevier County scored the first nine points of the second overtime period.
“Both teams played really hard and really competed, Boone coach Travis Mains said. “Sevier County just made more plays in that second overtime than we did. Basketball is about finishing as a team. In a game like that, whoever finishes the most plays in the end wins.”
Taylor Carmichael, who tallied a team-best 22 points for Boone, had back-to-back 3-point goals to give the Lady ’Blazers a 38-36 lead at the end of a tightly contested first half.
Even more than her production, her coach praised her efforts on the defensive end.
“Taylor is really coming on,” Mains said. “What made me happy tonight was how she made some really big defensive plays. She’s always going to shoot it and score, but she can be a really special player if she plays with that defensive intensity. She made two really big plays down the stretch.”
After trailing at the half, the Bearettes roared back to take a slight 54-51 lead at the end of three quarters. In the fourth quarter, there were three ties and three lead changes. Tarr missed a pair of free throws with six seconds left, and a running 3-point attempt by Boone’s Katelyn Cox bounced off the backboard and rim at the buzzer, leaving the score 64-all at the end of regulation.
There were three more lead changes and three more ties in the first overtime before Tarr blocked a close range shot with only a couple of seconds left. In addition to Tarr, Katlyn Davis wound up with 18 points and Olivia Maples scored 11 points for Sevier County.
Allison Littleton and Jaclyn Jenkins each netted 13 points for Boone, and Courtney Vasquez ended with 11 points.
Sullivan South 63, Johnson County 38
After the Lady Longhorns scored the first five points of the game, the Lady Rebels responded with the next 19 points.
South continued to hold a double-digit lead the rest of the game, up 35-15 at the half and 50-28 at the end of three quarters.
Brayden Hutchins was the leading scorer for the Lady Rebels with 16 points, including four shots behind the 3-point line. Morgan Seymore followed with 14 points. South coach Torey Haile was pleased how many players on their roster contributed in the win.
“We told them if they would go as hard as they possibly could, we were going to roll them in,” Haile said. “We did and it worked well for us. Abby Childress, Taylor Crawford and Emma Carico -- they all played and were asked contribute and they did.”
Brooke Brown had a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds to lead Johnson County. Kourtney Tolley was the next high-scorer with eight.
Meigs County 83, Hampton 56
Emileigh Swofford scored a tournament-record 43 points as the Lady Tigers defeated last year’s JC Honda runner-up.
Swofford knocked down six shots behind the 3-point arc, and Megis County connected on 15 treys overall.
Taylor Boggess poured in another 20 points for Meigs County.
Alexis Bowers led three Hampton players in double figures with 15 points. Kim Swearingen contributed 11 points and Kaitlin Irick finished with 10 for the Lady Bulldogs.
University High 60, Eastside, Va. 44
Lexi Crouthers tallied a game-high 18 points to lead the Lady Bucs over the Lady Spartans.
Although the Lady Bucs led throughout, they were up just 47-41 when the starters returned to the game after a brief rest in the fourth quarter.
Scores by Barrett Wherry, Brie Nikolous and Crouthers quickly pushed the lead out to 14 points. From there, UH held a double-digit lead the rest of the way.
Nikolous finished with 11 points for the Lady Bucs. Taylor Treadway ended with 10 and Barrett Wherry had nine in a balanced attack.
“We have more than one scoring threat,” UH coach Rayne Price said. “We had nice games by Barrett Wherry and Brie Nikolous, and it was a fantastic game by Lexi Crouthers.”
Kaylee Jones was Eastside’s leading scorer with 15 points.
David Crockett 62, Happy Valley 61
Kaylie Foster hit a short jumper off a long rebound with five seconds left to lift the Lady Pioneers over the Lady Warriors.
Crockett held a 20-point lead in the third quarter before Happy Valley rallied to grab the lead with 56 seconds left on a Kalee Johnson lay-up. They traded the lead twice with the Lady Warriors up by one on a pair of Beth Reece free throws before the final score.
“We had three girls fighting for the rebound and we came up with it,” Crockett head coach Will Conley said. “We got it and that’s why we practice shooting. Foster’s a senior and she’s been stepping it up. She did what she had to do.”
Heather Scalf led the Lady Pioneers in scoring with 16 points. Chelsea Lyninger ended with a dozen and Foster scored 11.
Johnson finished with a game-high 22 to lead Happy Valley, and Reece added an 11-point effort.
Unaka 53, Cherokee 48
The Lady Rangers jumped out to a 35-17 halftime lead and cruised to victory over the Lady Chiefs.
Cheyenne Drew scored 15 points, all on 3-point goals, to lead Unaka. Jessie Matheson netted 10 points and Brandi Ensor followed with nine points.
Samantha Marlow had a game-high 27 points to lead Cherokee.
Sullivan East 66, South-Doyle 53
Jamison Shaffer scored 24 points to lead the Lady Patriots over the Lady Cherokees.
Tori James contributed nine points as East raced out to a 24-9 lead at the end of one quarter and never looked back. Karen Donihue tallied 17 and Amy Browning added 13 points to pace South-Doyle.
Thursday’s late game
Daniel Boone 91, Eastside, Va. 47
Taylor Carmichael scored 23 points to lead the Lady Blazers in Thursday’s nightcap.
Allison Littleton had nine steals for a Boone defense which forced 34 turnovers overall. She also had 10 points, seven assists and five rebounds. Jaclyn Jenkins finished with14 points and Autumn Bradshaw had 10 as the Lady ’Blazers set a team record for points scored.