After falling behind in the first quarter, Tellico Plains spent much of the night fighting to undo the disadvantage.
And the Lady Bears did, battling within a possession, but the early infliction showed to be too much, losing 39-38 in the Region 2-2A quarterfinals at Polk County, Feb. 24.
“We started out slow. It was not one person that picked it up, everyone just kind of picked it up and joined in together,” Tellico Plains coach Brooke Evans said.
Tellico (10-16) trailed 11-2 after the opening quarter, Hannah Dalton’s field goal was the only form of offensive production, but the team picked up with four 3-pointers and 12 field goals to come.
“It just kind of came from within. I looked at them going into the second quarter and told them they were going to have to find a way,” Evans said. “They came together and they played like Lady Bears play.”
Haley Cooper and Taylor Rose both found 3-pointers in the third and fourth quarters to spur the rally. Lone senior Tamyra Dicandio delivered nine points, with two crucial baskets in the fourth quarter.
Tellico only got to the line four times in the fourth quarter (shooting 50%). Riley Maney was able to add a field goal as well.
Dalton drove down the court in the closing seconds, moving the ball to Cooper for a corner 3-pointer. Polk’s lead was down to one.
Evans took a timeout to draw up a play. Polk got to the line, where the shooters rebounded her own missed field goal, to seal the evening.
“It was just a very unfortunate bounce of the rim. Something I could have done better was going over that last-second play with my girls,” Evans said. “I will take that one on me. We will move on, get better and look forward to next year.”
Dicandio and Rose led Tellico with nine points each while Kate Hicks chipped in seven more. Hicks added a needed field goal in the fourth quarter charge.
The Lady Bears outscored Polk (19-10) in the second, third and fourth quarters, but could not force themselves in front after the nine-point deficit.
Tellico did slow down the Polk offense through the middle of the match. Callie Brewer’s game-high 16 points were helped by two first half 3-pointers and shooting 8 for 12 foul shots.
However, Tellico muddied her night in the middle portions before face-guarding her into the fourth.
“They did a great job. I wish we would have face-guarded her sooner,” Evans said. “I felt like it made a huge difference. They could not set up like they had been. That might be an adjustment we go to in the future.”
Hicks did much of the guarding while Dalton and Jonna Moses took shifts as well.
A younger team this winter, Tellico forced themselves back into the Region 2-2A tournament and will return all but Dicandio to next year’s roster.
“Tamyra has matured a whole lot this season. I am very proud of her and how she has carried herself,” Evans said. “We are going to miss her. She is one of the best athletes that I have ever coached. She has a bright future ahead — I am thankful for her.”
Polk County advances to face Meigs County at 7:30 in Loudon on Monday. Meigs County eliminated Marion County.
Kingston will face McMinn Central after the two eliminated Tyner Academy and Brainerd, respectively.
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