In the end, however, a state basketball tournament berth fell barely out of reach for the Lady Highlanders — who dropped a Class A sectional clash 43-41 to Oneida on Saturday night.
The Lady Highlanders, who finished a banner year at 25-7, had a tough time offensively in the first quarter, producing just four points to Oneida’s 12. Cloudland picked up the pace in the second quarter, but trailed 23-11 at the break.
The third quarter is where Coach Matt Birchfield’s team made its move, outscoring the Lady Indians 15-8.
Jasmine Birchfield poured in 17 points for the Lady Highlanders. Mandy Benfield contributed 10 and Gracie Freeman nine.
Earning back-to-back state berths, Oneida (29-5) was topped by Kelsey Pike with 12 points. Harley Boyatt scored nine.