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Sequoyah girls settle for 5-AA runner-up after loss to McMinn Central

Staff Photo by Gabriel Garcia
The Sequoyah Lady Chiefs stand together with the District 5-AA runner-up plaque after losing the title game Tuesday night to McMinn Central, 58-48.
Published: 10:59 AM, 02/26/2013 Last updated: 10:59 AM, 02/26/2013

Author: Gabriel Garcia
Source: The Monroe County Advocate

ATHENS - With two of the Sequoyah girls’ key players in foul trouble not even three minutes into the District 5-AA championship game, it was only a matter of time before state powerhouse McMinn Central made its runs.

And the top-seeded Chargerettes did, turning up the defensive pressure and forcing the No. 2 seed Lady Chiefs into 13 first-half turnovers. Sequoyah hung around but never recovered, falling 58-48 to take the runner-up plaque Tuesday at McMinn County High School.

The Lady Chiefs had staked out an 11-8 lead in the game’s first three minutes, but Central managed to saddle both Kassidi Freeman and Hunter Simpson with two fouls a piece during that opening stretch - a familiar script according to Sequoyah coach Eddie Gambrell.

“That’s kind of a common occurrence when we play them,” said Gambrell, whose team would still host a Region 3-AA tournament opener Friday.

Emily Ingram nailed a trey to extend Sequoyah’s lead to 14-8, but the Chargerettes lit a spark with their full-court press, harassing the Lady Chiefs into six turnovers - quite a few of them in the backcourt - to ignite a 16-3 run for the rest of the first quarter.

“We lost our composure a little bit there, and we turned the ball over,” Gambrell said. “A lot of it had to do with pressure that Central was putting on.”

And Central kept putting on the pressure in the second quarter. The Lady Chiefs bit into their 24-17 deficit with Ingram laying in a transition hoops and Simpson sinking a couple of foul shots, but the Chargerettes again showed their live hands on defense, forcing four more turnovers to fuel a 10-2 run, with most of those points scored on free tosses after Sequoyah’s girls fouled on Central’s fast-break attempts.

And Freeman and Simpson both picked up their third fouls, limiting the Lady Chiefs’ defensive post presence and top penetrating threat, respectively.

Sequoyah hit the lockers down 38-27 and hung around for the second half. Central threatened to run away with the game after taking a 48-32 lead late in the third quarter, but the Lady Chiefs steadied a little bit with an Ingram transition bucket off a Savanna Atchley turnover recovery and assist.

The Lady Chiefs managed to scrap together a 7-2 run to start the fourth quarter, chipping their deficit to 50-41 on Freeman’s hook from 10 feet. But they could get no closer after Central’s timeout.

“We missed too many shots down the stretch,” Gambrell said. “We cut it to nine; we had a couple of stops on defense, come down on fast break, missed layups.”

But Gambrell also gave his team credit for fighting to the end and not letting the game get out of hand.

“Both teams played very, very hard, and it was a fun game to watch,” he said. “That’s the only thing you could ask for.”


S    17    10    7    14    -    48
M    24    14    10    10    -    58

SEQUOYAH: Danielle Slack 3, Kassidi Freeman 4, Hunter Simpson 22, Savanna Atchley 1, Josee Weese 2, Emily Ingram 14, Cheney Welshan 2
MCMINN CENTRAL: Codi Tillman 7, Haylee Morrow 2, Peyton Williams 5, Kelsey Young 10, Elizabeth Masengil 18, Elizabeth Trentham 7, Bailey Gray 9

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