Tellico Plains raced out to a nearly 30-point lead on Friday night and Sale Creek had no answer for the accuracy of Samantha Russell as the Lady Bears claimed a 65-24 win to advance to the district championship game this past Saturday.
The Lady Bears’ defense was stout from the opening tip and didn’t allow a single point from the Lady Panthers in the first quarter. On the other end of the court, Tellico Plains could nearly do no wrong. Chloe Yearwood opened with a steal and a score before Russell sank four 3-pointers in a row to push the lead out to 14-0. Russell added another jumper and Kori Hamilton added a trey of her own to continue to push the lead. Yearwood added two more buckets and Joell Stinnett added one as the Lady Bears led 27-0 after one quarter.
Sale Creek got on the board with two free throws to start the second quarter, but the Lady Bears responded with layups from Russell, Yearwood, and Jaden Hollinghead to take a 33-2 lead. Sam Derlak scored the first field goal for Sale Creek midway through the second quarter, after the Lady Bears had already turned to the bench.
Maggie Hooper answered with a steal and a score and she added a jumper late in the quarter to help the Lady Bears to a 42-9 halftime lead.
In limited action in the third quarter, Russell made easy work of the defense again with two layups and Alayna Hensley added one of her own to boost the Lady Bears. Hooper added another layup to counter three layups by Sale Creek’s Shelby Defore and a layup by Derlak, and Kaylie West sank a 3-pointer to end the third quarter with the Lady Bears in front 55-18.
Hollinghead took a layup and two free throws to start the fourth quarter and Russell added two free throws before Melayna Osbourne hit a 3-pointer for Sale Creek. Tess Pearson answered with a layup and Karsen Hunt added a steal-and-score as the Lady Bears coasted to the district championship berth.
Russell led Tellico Plains with 22 and Yearwood added 9.