Samantha Russell knocked down seven 3-pointers on Friday night and three Lady Bears finished in double figures as Tellico Plains raced past Lookout Valley, 70-29, to secure a nearly unbreakable hold on first place in the district standings.

Russell started hot with a 3-pointer out of the gate, and Jaden Hollinghead followed suit with a trey of her own, as well as two free throws, that gave Tellico Plains an 8-0 lead in the early goings. Rainey Barber stopped the run with a layup, but Tess Pearson answered with a layup and the two teams continued to trade baskets. Barber sank another layup and a trey, while Russell had the response for Tellico Plains with a putback and a 3-pointer. Princess Simmons sank another 3-pointer for Lookout Valley, but Joell Stinnett’s layup in response gave Tellico Plains the 17-12 lead after one quarter.

Both teams struggled to score in the second quarter, with Lookout Valley’s four points coming from Barber alone. Tellico Plains managed to knock down more shots, with Russell sinking a 3-pointer and Hollinghead making back-to-back layups off of Chloe Yearwood steals. Russell took the ball coast to coast for a layup to end the second quarter, and the Lady Bears held a 10-point lead at 26-16.

After the break, Tellico Plains began to heat up. Yearwood scored her first points of the game on a 3-pointer to open the third quarter, and Russell followed with another trey to boost the Lady Bears before a Barber layup stopped the run. From that point though, the Lady Bears finished the third quarter on a 15-2 run to widen the advantage. Kori Hamilton chipped in two free throws, Yearwood sank a second 3-pointer, Pearson added a layup and Hollinghead swished a 3-pointer in the run, which was capped by Russell’s two free throws. The run was only interrupted by a Barber layup, and Barber was once again the only Lady Jacket to score in the third quarter.

Heading to the fourth period, the Lady Bears held the decisive advantage at 44-20.

Barber started the fourth with a layup and Jalisa Sanders added a 3-point play, but from there the Lady Bears went on a 16-0 run to salt the game away. Yearwood started the run with two free throws and a layup and Russell sank three 3-pointers in the series. Hollinghead also added a layup before a Barber layup stopped the streak. Tellico Plains got contributions from the bench in the final minutes, with Maggie Hooper, Hamilton, and Chloe Ratledge all scoring for the Lady Bears.

Russell led the Lady Bears with 29, while Hollinghead added 14 and Yearwood totaled 11.

Barber led the Lady Jackets with 17 as the only player in double figures.




Tellico Plains made a last-ditch comeback effort in the fourth quarter on Friday, but it was not enough to claim the win as the Bears fell one shot short, falling 62-61 to Lookout Valley.

Dale Rinehart opened the game with a 3-pointer but Jalen Moore had a response for Lookout Valley, sinking back-to-back treys to claim the lead. Jesse Lambert answered with a 3-point play to briefly tie the game before an Allen Ray jumper broke the tie. Moore added a layup and a 3-pointer and Jaylen Bates added two layups as the Yellow Jackets built up the lead to 19-10 at the end of one quarter.

Bates added a 3-point play to start the second quarter, but Tellico Plains responded with layups from Rinehart and Piper Carter as well as a 3-pointer from Dylan Walker to keep pace. From there, the two teams just traded baskets for the remainder of the second quarter. Rinehart, Evan Harris, and Carter scored for Tellico Plains while Ray and Colbe Haddux added baskets for Lookout Valley. When the dust settled, Tellico Plains had picked up some ground, but still trailed 32-25 at the halftime break.

Rinehart opened the second half with a layup, but a brief run by Lookout Valley, paced by two baskets from Bates and a 3-pointer by Ray, put the Yellow Jackets firmly in the lead. That lead wouldn’t last long, however. Tellico Plains unleashed a 12-0 run, led by two layups and a 3-pointer by Carter, that tied the game at 39 in the third quarter. Moore answered the run with a mini-run of his own, sinking two layups and a 3-pointer, to regain the lead, and though Carter sank another trey, the Lookout Valley squad took a 50-42 lead at the end of three.

Lookout Valley expanded the lead to 10 points early in the fourth on a 3-point play by Ray, but Carter replied by scoring the last 15 points of the game for Tellico Plains. First Carter sank two free throws, followed by two layups and another three free throws. A 3-pointer cut the lead down to 2 points with time dwindling. Two free throws by Moore extended the lead to 4, but Carter’s 3-point play cut the margin to just 1 with seconds to go. A turnover forced by Tellico Plains gave the Bears one last chance at the win, but as time expired, Carter’s game-winning shot went off the front of the rim and Lookout Valley secured the rebound to hold on for the 1-point win.

Carter led Tellico Plains with a career-high 34 points, and Rinehart added 14.

Moore led the Yellow Jackets with 22 while Bates added 13 and Ray had 12.

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