Staff Photo by Gabriel Garcia
Sequoyah senior Kassidi Freeman puts up a shot in the Lady Chiefs’ Region 3-AA Tournament loss to Tyner Academy Friday at the Chop House. Freeman played her last game for Sequoyah.
|Published: 10:57 AM, 02/26/2013
||Last updated: 1:48 PM, 04/11/2013
Author: Gabriel Garcia
Source: The Monroe County Advocate
MADISONVILLE - The buzzer sounded, and other than the Tyner
Academy girls' basketball team and a few partisans celebrating in one corner, the Chop House stood
in stunned silence.
The Sequoyah girls walked off to their locker room, pondering how a
season of unprecedented success ended Friday in a 36-29 home loss in the opener of the Region 3-AA
Tournament to a team that is now only 11-16.
"I hate it for the girls," said Lady Chiefs
coach Eddie Gambrell. "The girls put in a lot of work since June. They accomplished a lot, broke the
school record for wins this year. Theyâ€™re hurting. They wanted more. We all wanted more. But when it
came down to it, we could not score."
Equally stunning is how it happened. The Lady Chiefs,
who finished their season 20-9, held an 18-8 advantage at halftime and had stretched the margin to
23-11 with around five minutes left in the third quarter after a Savanna Atchley 3-pointer.
trey on the other end by the Lady Rams' leading scorer, DeKesha Parks, didnâ€™t seem at first to be
the start of the game-turning run for the visitors from the Chattanooga school, the pace of the game
as slow as it was. After another Parks bucket, Laura Whited answered with a jumper to push
Sequoyahâ€™s margin back to nine, at 25-16.
Those were the last points the Lady Chiefs scored
until less than four minutes left in the game.
"The coaching staff got together and talked about
it," said Tyner coach Latwanya Arnwine, whose team finished third in the District 6-AA tournament. "We saw what we were doing wrong, stuff that we had been over in practice, and we actually had to
come out here and execute it, and thatâ€™s what happened.
"Everyone knows that when itâ€™s
tournament time, itâ€™s your second season."
And Tyner really picked up its second wind in the
last minute of the third quarter. Delvay Hines dropped in a layup in the post, then Mia Smith jumped
in front of a telegraphed Sequoyah outlet pass and took the steal to the rim. All of a sudden Tyner
was down only 25-20 entering the fourth.
The Lady Rams weren't exactly in any hurry to score
in the fourth quarter. But with the Lady Chiefs unable to take care of the ball - to the tune of
seven turnovers in the last eight minutes - and unable to hit the layups and short jumpers they were
able to get off, Tyner didn't have to hurry.
"We kind of lost our composure there, especially
in the fourth quarter," Gambrell said.
Porchia Turner's wide-open bucket in the lane with
five minutes left was only Tyner's third field goal of the fourth quarter, but it was enough to put
the Lady Rams ahead for good at 26-25. About a minute later, Smith extended Tyner's lead to
A jump shot from the wing by Kassidi Freeman - after some messy halfcourt offense -
momentarily cut the Lady Chiefs' deficit back to one. But after Tyner got possession on a tie-up and
took a timeout, Smith sank a floater to return the margin to three.
Hunter Simpson - whose 10
second-quarter points from drives into the paint had built Sequoyah the lead it eventually
surrendered - briefly remembered her key to success on the answering bucket, slicing to the hoop for
a layup in traffic to again cut the Lady Chiefs' deficit to one.
After Parks hit one out of
her two foul shots, Atchley missed the layup on the transition that could've tied the game. Instead
the Lady Chiefs were forced to foul and send the Lady Rams to the line.
Tyner went 1-of-2 its
next two trips to the charity stripe, but Sequoyah surrendered the offensive rebound on both misses
and were again forced to foul. The Lady Rams hit just enough of their last free throws to seal the
"Youâ€™ve got to give credit to Tyner. They were aggressive all game long and they
turned it up a little more in the fourth," Gambrell said. "They outhustled us for rebounds here and
there and got second chances off hustle plays."
Sequoyah appears primed to have another
strong campaign next year after it regroups from Fridayâ€™s heartbreaker. While seniors Freeman - a
defensive presence her whole career - and Danielle Slack are gone, everyone else, including Simpson,
"My first priority is getting them through this, then refocusing our program for next
year," Gambrell said.
TYNER 36, SEQUOYAH 29
2 12 16 -
S 6 12 7
4 - 29
TYNER: Porchia Turner 6, Juanita Montgomery
4, Mia Smith 8, Brittany McElvain 1, DeKesha Parks 11, Del-Vay Hines 6
SEQUOYAH: Hunter Simpson
14, Danielle Slack 2, Savanna Atchley 5, Kassidi Freeman 2, Chancy Welshan 4, Laura Whited
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