BASKETBALL: Kate Hicks Robbinsville

Tellico Plains's Kate Hicks (1) plays defense during the Lady Bears' 55-49 loss to Robbinsville (N.C.) on Dec. 30 in Robbinsville, North Carolina.

It was a classic Tellico Plains Lady Bears performance that led first year Coach Brooke Evans and her squad to their first win in District 3-2A on Jan. 11.

A strong defensive performance, complimented by nine three pointers, led Tellico Plains to a 56-31 win at Loudon.

“The girls came out solid on defense,” Evans said. “I felt like we did a better job on defense than we have been. But we missed a ton of shots in that first quarter. I was just proud of them for not letting up and continuing throughout the whole game.”

The Lady Bears (9-3) held Loudon to two points in the first quarter and nine shots from the floor on the night. Eleven of the hosts’ 31 points (35%) came from the free throw line.

The outing was the first of the year for Tellico, which could explain the slow start on offense. The Lady Bears hit two triples in the first quarter en route to nine points, but followed that with 19 points in the second with five three pointers.

“I felt like we just got into the flow of the game and allowed ourselves to settle down a little bit. We started making shots and it felt good,” Evans said. “Even in the second quarter we missed some shots, but we got some offensive boards and we did not let up. We got some second chance points, rebounds and kickouts. I was just proud of the girls for the extra effort.”

Kori Hamilton was the offensive leader with 17 points and a trio of three pointers, followed by Chloe Ratledge’s 11-point performance. Ratledge and Lexi Moore both buried two triples — Moore finished with eight points.

Tamyra Dicandio is starting to establish herself as an important player off the bench for Tellico. The junior finished with seven points and was key in helping to close out the win.

“Tamyra is so athletic, we are just trying to get her into understanding her role. She has had a great week of practice this week and she carried that over to the game,” Evans said.

Tellico started their run in the district against some of the upper echelon teams in the league. That put the program in a situation it’s not used to — 0-2 in district play. However, a return to the court after an 11-day hiatus and a convincing win in the district is fueling hopes to reset things for the Lady Bears.

“It was huge for us to get that win and for them to know they can compete at this level,” Evans said. “Coming out of two tough losses, I think it was very important for us to get on the right track. We are going into a tough stretch right here and we have to get rolling before we see the rest of the district.”

Tellico hosts Sweetwater on Friday before returning to non-district play. They will return to their District 3-2A action with a Jan. 21 visit to McMinn Central.

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