TAD girls send Lady Redskins to teepee

By Ivan Sanders
STAR CORRESPONDENT
isanders@starhq.com

   For 12 minutes the Robinson Lady Redskins had the stallions to run with the wind, but by game's end the T.A. Dugger Lady Cyclones had whipped up a wind storm that sent the Lady Redskins tumbling to the tepee for another season.
   Led by a gigantic offensive effort from Victoria Hopson and Courtney Towle, the Jr. Lady Cyclones advanced to the finals of the Middle 7 girls tournament with a hard-fought 43-33 victory at John Sevier Middle School in Kingsport Tuesday evening.
   "Robinson came in hungry and wanted it as much as we did," stated T.A. Dugger coach Angie Barker. "Our defense stepped up to play and our pressure forced them into making mistakes while we also did good work on the boards which I think was the key to the game."
   Indeed Robinson came to play early with the number one team in the conference for the season. Behind Melissa Shelton with four points and Autumn Gillis with three, the Lady Redskins found themselves trailing TAD by only two after the first period of play.
   Hopson stepped up big early as she collected six points to pace the Jr. Lady 'Clones in the period. Marti Bush and Michaela Pietrowski were like vacuum cleaners as they swept several boards each in the quarter.
   The second period found Robinson on the warpath as they outpointed TAD 10-8 to bring the score all even at 21-21 at the intermission. Four players scored one bucket apiece for Robinson while Hopson added four to her column in the quarter.
   Barker placed a little charge in her troops at the break as the Jr. 'Clones came out fired up both offensively and defensively. Hopson once again went on a tear as she reeled off six more while Towle began finding her shooter's touch to contribute with four points.
   Meanwhile, the defense was strutting its stuff by holding Robinson to a grand total of three points in the third. It was a total team effort for TAD as every player who took the floor was like flypaper all over the Lady Redskins in frustrating them offensively.
   "The difference in the ballgame was their size," stated Robinson coach Doug Wagner. "We didn't help ourselves in the third either as we were taking the same shots as we had been, but they just stopped dropping for us as we could manage only three points the entire quarter."
   Quarter four was mainly just a matter of playing smart basketball for the Jr. Lady Cyclones as they did outscore Robinson 10-9, but more importantly the defense absolutely frustrated Robinson in leading to missed shots and several turnovers.
   Hopson finished as the game's leading scorer with 18 points on 8 of 10 shooting followed by Towle who quietly collected 12 for the contest. Pietrowski added seven points with Brittany Smith netting four while Mikeal Oliver and Bush each added one point.
   Shelton tallied nine to pace Robinson with Christine Horton close behind with seven. Gillis finished with five points.
   While Bush scored only one point, she was a force on the boards as she and Pietrowski collected 12 boards each. Pietrowski also fed the Lady Redskins a taste of leather as she blocked three offerings, while Bush came up with three steals.
   The championship will be played out at John Sevier on Thursday at 4:45 p.m., with the Lady Cyclones set to take on Vance. T.A. Dugger was awarded their regular-season championship trophy before the beginning of Tuesday's contest.
   Note: Bush was injured going for a rebound as she hyper-extended her arm while in an arm bar from a Robinson player. All indications are that the young lady is going to be fine and ready to go Thursday.**