The LMS Tigers scratched and clawed in a Big Cat fight with their namesake mascots from Charlotte before eventually wearing out and pouncing on their opponents 51-36 to claim the TMSAA Middle Tennessee Sectional Title for the fourth time in five years and the second time in back-to-back fashion.
"It feels great," said Lewisburg head coach David Lovell. "This group works so hard and they play together so well, they deserve this championship."
LMS finished the season with a 20-0 record after the victory Tuesday night at E.O. Coffman Middle School in Lawrenceburg.
Current MCHS head girls' basketball coach David Junkins won the first two titles with Harpeth in 1998 and 1999. Harpeth also won the trophy in 2006, 2007 and 2008, remaining as the only school to win three in a row since the TMSAA began stationing the tournament in 1998.
Lewisburg southpaw point guard D'Andre Brown, the eventual tournament MVP, opened the scoring for the Tigers and then stole the rock and fed Jay Howard, who dished to Caleb Fields for the lay-in and a 4-0 LMS lead.
After a Zeke Lacompte basket for Charlotte, Dayveonte Brown made it 6-2 in favor of the Tigers, who would go on a 10-6 run the remainder of the quarter for a 16-8 advantage.
One free throw by Lacompte was the only scoring in the first two minutes of the third quarter before Jay Howard scored on a rebound and put-back, and after a Keevon Maxwell steal, Howard scored on a pretty dish from D'Andre Brown, opening up a 20-9 lead for Lewisburg.
Caleb Fields scored to give LMS their biggest lead of the first half at 24-12 before Charlotte mounted an all-out comeback.
Charlotte scored 12 out of the next 15 points the remainder of the second quarter with Coulter Dodson leading the charge with seven points, catapulting the Dickson County squad back into the game with only a three-point margin at the end of the first half, 27-24.
In typical Tiger style, LMS stole the show on defense with D'Andre Brown's thievery leading the offensive to begin the second half.
Defense heats up
"I told them at halftime we need to pick up our defensive intensity and it's time, it's time to do it, this is the last time you are going to play," said Lovell.
Brown stole the ball on back-to-back Charlotte possessions, feeding Fields for a score and then scoring himself to make it a 31-24 ballgame.
Moments later, Dayveonte Brown scored on a rebound and put-back, extending LMS' lead to 33-24.
Charlotte did not score until the 2:08 mark of the third period with Davon Higgins breaking the drought.
Howard followed with back-to-back scores for Lewisburg, making it an 11-point game that would be ten at the end of the third quarter with LMS in front 39-29.
Charlotte had one last charge in them with the score 41-31 early in the fourth period, Dodson scored on a drive to the basket before raining down a long three-pointer from the top of the key, slicing LMS' lead in half at 41-36 with three minutes remaining in the contest.
You knew what was coming.
D'Andre Brown cemented his MVP performance, scoring the next seven points on three consecutive lane assaults, inserting the final dagger with a wild, twisting and turning three-point play to clinch the title and finish off the undefeated season with 1:57 left in the magical campaign.
"It feels good to come back down here at E.O. Coffman and show everybody what we were made of and go out with a big win to finish the year," said Brown. "They were tough, but we are a second half team when it comes down to it and we came here to win."
Undefeated times 2
The LMS basketball and football teams both went undefeated this year, a feat that is in research to see if it has ever been matched in the school's history.
"Nobody is sure whether that has been done before," said Lovell. "So, I told them you are all part of something very special."
D'Andre Brown and Howard both scored 17 points in the contest to lead all scorers with Brown dishing out seven assists, while Howard pulled down 10 rebounds.
"We came out and played hard this season and we played together as a team," said Howard. "At the end of the year, all the hard work and playing as a team paid off."
Fields finished with seven points, Dayveonte Brown ended up with seven rebounds to go along with his five points, Maxwell had the one trey, and Tre Crutcher added a deuce.
Dodson finished with 14 points and Aaron Daniels was also in double figures for Charlotte with 10 points.
Howard, Crutcher, and Fields joined Brown (MVP) on the All-Tournament Team.
The Lewis County girls also finished the season undefeated at 21-0 after a 34-19 win over Harpeth in the title game.
Zachuriya O'Neal was the lone Tigerette on the girls' All-Tournament squad.