Lady Tigers down Cloudland, 31-24

By Marvin Birchfield
STAR CORRESPONDENT
mbirchfield@starhq.com

   The Carter/Johnson County Seventh Grade Girls Tournament was in its second day of competition on Tuesday, as the Hunter Tigers advance to the semifinals with a 31-24 victory over Cloudland.
   Hunter opened up with the press in the second half to grab the lead, which was never relinquished for the remainder of the contest.
   "The press was outstanding tonight, and our B-team has done a good job all year long of executing it," said Hunter coach Tammy Taylor.
   The Tigers captured a 5-2 advantage in the first period, when Emily Asher made a steal and drew a foul for a three-point play.
   Bethany Bare converted a lay-up off the break for the 'Landers to pull within one, but a bucket inside the paint from Jessica Ketterman gave the Tigers a three-point advantage.
   Hannah Colbaugh nailed a 15-foot jumper to make it 7-2 to start the second period, but Cloudland came back strong to go on a 6-0 run.
   "Holly Grindstaff ran point guard for us and did an excellent job, and I thought Hannah Colbaugh was important in contributing to our win," said Taylor.
   Rebounding inside from Cloudland produced scores from Rebecca Tolley and Jordan Miller, giving them a slim 8-7 lead at the half.
   Hunter turned up the intensity on defense in the third quarter by using the full-court press, and went on an 8-0 run in the last three minutes of the period.
   Brittany Westberry scored a couple of field goals for the Tigers, and two buckets with under 15 seconds left gave Hunter a 19-14 lead heading into the final period.
   Cloudland cut the deficit down to one with 2:25 left, when Tolley scored on an in-bounds pass from Shelly Winters.
   With the 'Landers trying to tie, Tolley was called for an illegal screen in the final minute, which was devastating after Ketterman sank two free-throws off the foul.
   "We've missed them all year long, but Jessica Ketterman came through for us and hit some big free throw at the end, and several girls stepped up tonight and scored for us," said Taylor.
   Range 18
   Happy Valley 39
   The Lady Warriors had little trouble in dealing with Range in their route to a 39-18 win, as Happy Valley's defense smothered the Rebels from the opening tip-off.
   "We had a lot of kids come in and play well, so I'm proud of how they came on the floor and performed," said Happy Valley coach Dana Hill.
   Happy Valley exploded to a 19-0 lead before the Rebels answered with a score, which didn't come until the second period.
   Alison McKinney led the Warriors in the first quarter with a 15-foot jumper and basket off a steal.
   Brittany Rice connected on a three-point goal for the Warriors, and a bucket inside from Amber Dugger gave Happy Valley an 11-0 advantage after the first period.
   Nicole Hardin made a steal with the basket and drew a foul, followed by a rebound and putback by Leandra Mullins. A score from Sydney Skeans inside the paint to make it 19-0.
   "We had a lot of baskets off of steals and turnovers, but I think we still need to work on our halfcourt sets and execute on getting the ball inside more," said Hill.
   The Rebels finally got on the board with 3:35 left in the half, after Natasha Carver rebounded her own shot to make the score.
   Range trailed 19-6 at the half as a couple of field-goals from Brittany Reener cut into the Warrior lead.
   Happy Valley came out in the second half to outscore the Rebels 10-2 in the third period as its defense produced many turnovers, with Kristy Ramey scoring off the break.
   Hannah Banks pounded the boards for the Warriors as she led Happy Valley in scoring with eight points, six of which came in the third period.
   After enjoying a 29-8 advantage heading into the fourth quarter, the Warrior bench came and kept the margin with Emily Hill knocking down a trey in the final minute.
   "We had a lot of kids to come in and get some playing time, and that's good because they don't always get too but have worked hard all year," said Hill.
   Keenburg 16
   Johnson County 24
   The Lady Longhorns were victorious in their match up against Keenburg, after a productive third quarter enabled them obtain a 24-16 win.
   Johnson County led by just two points at halftime with Jill South scoring all nine points, seven of which came in the first quarter.
   South ended up with 13 points on the night, but with the help of teammates Cindy Vance and Kechia Eller Johnson County was able to get the upper hand in the third period by stretching the lead to 19-10.
   Nanette Mann came on for the Tigers in the last period to pour in four points and lead Keenburg on the night with seven scores.
   Unaka 8
   Hampton 38
   The Lady Bulldogs steamrolled the Lady Rangers in their 38-8 victory, as Unaka showed very little on the offensive side of the ball, and Hampton displaying plenty of defense.
   Hampton shut out the Rangers in the first period by a score of 7-0, after Josie McKinney hit on three field goal attempts.
   Mikki Oliver shifted gears for the Bulldogs in the second quarter by scoring 11 points and knocking down a three-point goal.
   Dana Williams poured in six points for the Rangers, which were the only scores that came from the field.
   The Bulldogs continued to show their domination in the second-half by holding Unaka to just two points, which came from the free-throw line.