North Greene girls top Cloudland for Region 1-A championship

Tanner Cook • Mar 4, 2020 at 9:12 PM

GRAY — The North Greene girls basketball team won a rough-and-tough Region 1-A title game on Wednesday night inside Bobby Snyder Gymnasium, 45-41 over Watauga Valley rival Cloudland.

With the win, the Lady Huskies will host their first home sectional game since 2011 against Wartburg.

The Lady Highlanders will travel to Oneida.

Both games are set to start at 7 p.m.

North Greene’s Haleigh Bernard had 13 points with three made 3-pointers and was named tournament MVP.

Brooklyn Anderson also had 13 points for the Lady Huskies.

Mandy Benfield had a game-high 16 points to lead Cloudland.

“This group is special and I’ve had some of these kids since fourth grade,” North Greene head coach James Buchanan said. “They’re easy to coach as far as game-planning and strategy. To see them finally come together here and win a regional championship is special because it doesn’t happen too often.”


Cloudland started out well and built a 13-9 lead by the end of the first quarter, but the Lady Huskies started out the second quarter on a 9-0 run to take an 18-13 lead with 4:08 left in the half.

However, Cloudland weathered the storm and was only down one point (23-22) at the break.

“We had a stretch there when we couldn’t score and they hit a couple of baskets to get back in it,” Cloudland head coach Matt Birchfield said. “They hit some dagger 3’s in the third that hurt us. (Bernard) has hurt us twice now and those two she hit in the third were huge.

“I thought both teams really played their hearts and left it all on the floor. James does a great job down there and that’s a good team.”


The teams pretty much traded baskets throughout the second half and the game was hardly more than a one-possession affair.

Cloudland tied the game at 38 with 3:35 left to play, but Anderson immediately answered for the Lady Huskies with an inside hook shot.

The Lady ’Landers did not score again until 15.2 seconds left in the contest when Kenzie Birchfield hit a 3-pointer.

That cut the deficit to one point (42-41), but Anderson was clutch at the line after she got fouled. She made the front and back ends of the one-and-one to extend the lead to three.

Cloudland had an opportunity to tie the game with under 10 seconds, but Kenzie Birchfield’s 3-point attempt was off the mark.

“These girls stepped up all night and hit timely big shots all night long,” Buchanan said. “It’s been so long since we’ve had a home sectional game that I almost forgot. We’ll relive some of those memories and maybe bring in some of those old players to let them know how special it is to have a home sectional game.”

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