MORRISTOWN – The Greeneville girls ended the regular with a strong showing on Monday as they pulled away from Morristown East in the second half to earn a 65-41 win.
“Defensively I thought we did about the best that we have done against a team that drives the middle,” Greeneville coach Annette Watts said. “I was really excited with that. Offensively I thought we were patient and we picked apart that zone. And a zone is hard score against in this gym, this gym is not real friendly to shooters.”
Now the stakes get higher for the Lady Devils as they turn their attention to the postseason where they are hopeful to make another run to the Class 3A State Tournament. Greeneville will begin District 2-3A Tournament play on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. at Cherokee against the winner of Cherokee and Claiborne.
“We have to get better and better at rebounding, all of us, everyone needs to be rebounding,” Watts said. “Rebounds will take you a long way in the postseason, and then we have to get better at executing our offenses.”
Monday’s second half began with Greeneville leading 34-25, but that margin quickly shrank when Finley Surber scored seven straight points for the Lady Hurricanes.
Watts called a timeout, but her team assured everything was okay, and then they proved that by scoring the next 14 points.
“When I called a timeout, they said ‘Coach Watts we’ve got this,’” Watts said. “They knew that could play better defensively, and we were taking shots that weren’t us. We cleaned some things up, and got busy on defense out of that timeout.”
The resurgence started with Lauren Bailey driving the lane and dishing to Lindy Carter for a mid-range jumper. Carter followed with a toe-on-the-line two, and jumper from the elbow as Greeneville stretched the lead back out to 40-32.
On the next possession Tambryn Ellenburg nailed a corner three, and Chloe Marsh finished the period with a layup for a 47-32 lead.
Greeneville’s defense, led by Marsh and Carter in the paint held the Lady Hurricanes scoreless for the final 5:34 for the third quarter, and continued that for another 2:09 into the fourth quarter.
“I thought Chloe and Lindy played such good defense,” Watts said. “They have some big girls in there, but they handled them. They scored 16 on us in the first quarter, and then they only scored 16 in the second half.”
Greeneville’s lead reached 20 points with 4:14 left to play when Anna Shaw found Kyla Jobe in front of the defense for a transition layup.
East answered with a three-pointer from Hailey Hall, but then Dalaina Martin, Jobe, Shaw and Bailey all scored inside for the Lady Devils as they pulled away to a 65-41 win.
Firday’s action stayed close early, with neither team managing more than a one-possession lead for the first five minutes. Bailey got a pair of three-pointers to fall over the Lady Canes’ zone and scored 10-points in that opening stretch.
“Any time Lauren can get us out and get us going I feel like we do so much better,” Watts said. “And she is playing like a Miss Basketball right now.”
East got two triples from Chloe Slover and another from Hall on its way to a 16-14 lead.
Greeneville regained the lead at 17-16 with 1:03 left in the period when quick passes from Shaw and Jobe set up Marsh for an uncontested layup. Marsh followed with two at the free-throw line, and then set up Carter for a jumper from the short quarter just before the buzzer as Greeneville’ lead grew to 21-16.
Midway through the third quarter Morristown East was able to knot things at 23-23 when Surber sank a pair the charity stripe.
Bailey got Greeneville going again with three-pointer, and then 24 seconds later she drove the lane for two points and a 28-23 lead.
Greeneville scored the final six points of the first half to stretch the lead to 34-25.
Bailey led Greeneville on Monday with 16 points while Chloe Marsh had 14 points and 11 rebounds and Carter finished with 11 points.
Greeneville 21 13 13 18 65
Morristown East 16 9 7 9 41
Greeneville: Bailey 16, Marsh 14, Carter 11, Jobe 6, Shaw 6, Martin 5, Ellenburg 5
Morristown East: Surber 18, Hall 8, Slover 7, Hall 4, Wampler 2, Cloninger 2