High School

Inside Job: North Greene Uses Post Presence To Take Down Cloudland In District Semis

Inside Job: North Greene Uses Post Presence To Take Down Cloudland In District Semis
Written by 
Tate Russell
February 16, 2023

BLOUNTVILLE – The North Greene girl put an emphasis on getting the ball inside on Tuesday and used a dominant performance in the paint to advance to the District 1-1A championship game by defeating Cloudland 40-34.

“The last time we played our guards, Zoe (Sanders) and Sonya (Wagner) scored 25, and their post players scored 25, and that was why it was a close game,” North Greene coach James Buchanan said. “Now Zoe is out so we have to step our game up, and I asked the girls why do they get to win the post battle? Why is that set in stone? So I challenged them, and we didn’t play perfect, but I thought our posts gave us a ton tonight.”

The Lady Huskies played through center Hannah Miller for much of Tuesday’s action, and she finished the night with 11 points and 10 rebounds while her post partner Haley Bailey had seven points and nine boards.

“We played the game a little different, we came up with a little different wrinkle,” Buchanan said. “Last year playing in JV Haley and Hannah got to where they played really well together. I remember thinking that those kids were going to be good varsity players for us. We thought this team would be more post oriented this year, but then we lost Hannah early in the season. We get her back and then we lose Zoe. And I think it shows that we are dealing with smart kids, that we can get her back and change what we are doing, and it looks like we have been doing it all year.”

North Greene took the lead for the first time at 4-3 after Sonya Wagner and Bailey both hit midrange jumpers. Bailey then took a feed from Miller on the block and knocked down a triple for a 7-5 lead.

Ryan Turbyfill got a runner to go for the Lady Highlanders to knot things at 7-7, but Miller finished the first period by laying one off the glass for a 9-7 North Greene lead.

Turyfill got the second quarter started with a three-pointer from the left wing to put Cloudland in front 10-9.

Miller then tied the game twice, first by making one at the charity stripe and then by putting back her own miss. With 4:12 left in the first half Bailey dumped a high-low feed to Miller on the left block to give the Lady Huskies a 14-12 lead.

Wagner finished the first half with a pair of free throws that gave North Greene a 17-16 lead at the break.

The team’s started the third quarter by trading buckets, and Cloudland moved in front at 20-19 when Izabella Christman put back a miss.

A three-pointer by Grace Buchanan allowed the Lady Huskies to regain the lead, but Cloudland was able to tie the game one final time at 24-24 when Ella Benfield made a jumper from the top of the key.

Prior to Tuesday’s game in his weekly coach’s show coach Buchanan predicted that the first team to score 25 points would win. Over the year the Lady Huskies have been in several nip-and-tuck battles with Cloudland, and with both teams missing their point guards he expected points to be even harder to come by on Tuesday.

With 2:04 left in the third quarter Wagner drove the lane and dropped in a runner to give North Greene a 26-24 advantage, while also proving the soothsaying Buchanan correct because the Lady Huskies played from in front the rest of the way.

“You can probably pop in the tapes from three years ago, and the jersey numbers might change, but you know you are going to see a tough team when you play Cloudland,” Buchanan said. “I hope people think that when they see us, that they know at least we will be prepared. I can’t always determine the outcome ahead of time, but I know we are going to play hard. Then when you have two teams that know each other so well it’s going to be hard to score. It’s going to be a slugfest every time we play them, we know when we play them we have to get our boxing gloves out.”

North Greene went  to the fourth quarter leading 29-24 after Cloudland lost Cambell Gaby on a defensive switch and she took an open lane to the hoop for a lay in.

North Greene took its biggest lead of the night at 35-26 after Wagner sank a floater from the paint and then got a leaning runner to fall from beyond the left elbow.

“Sonya again got it going with very timely baskets,” Buchanan said. “She didn’t have that big stretch where she was unstoppable, but just when they had an advantage it seemed like she came up with a big one.”

Over the final four minutes Cloudland applied pressure for the length of the floor, but North Greene was able to withstand it to hang on for the win.

Wagner led North Greene in scoring on Tuesday with 12 points. Turbyfill led Cloudland with 12 points.

With the win North Greene moves on to the District 1-1A championship game where it will meet Hampton on Monday at 7:30 p.m. at West Ridge. The Lady Huskies have also secured a home game in the first round of the Region 1-1A Tournament.

“We just had one thing on our mind today, and that was to beat Cloudland,” Buchanan said. “Now that we have done that, I’ve told the girls that the third and fourth teams from District 2 are not nearly as strong as the first and second. So they have given themselves another home game, and it’s a winnable game.”

North Greene 9 8 12 11 40

Cloudland 7 9 8 10 34

North Greene: Wagner 12, Miller 11, Bailey 7, Gaby 7, Buchanan 3

Cloudland: Turbyfill 12, Benfield 8, Christman 8, Burchfield 6

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