Slow start ends tourney hopes for LMS

Friday, January 20, 2017
Sydney Tidwell shakes off a Caitie Crowder foul on a 3-point attempt before converting on one out of the three foul shots. Tribune photos by Mike Inglsbee

The Lewisburg Middle team found itself in a familiar situation on Saturday on the opening day of the James C. Haile Tournament at Middle Tennessee Christian by bringing in an ultra-talented team with a great record onto the court, but going up a tough draw in North Middle School from Winchester.

Last season under similar circumstances the highly rated Tigerettes (11-4) opened the tournament up against Avery Trace Middle with a substantial lead before going cold in the second half and ending the season with an upset loss.

This season the Tigerettes opened the game up ice cold from the field before finding its range in the fourth quarter, but much too late for the comeback and suffered another disappointing season ending loss at 48-21.

"I think we played a really good team, it was a tough draw for us," LMS coach Chris Coleman said. "We had a good week of preparation, but like we told the girls after the game-- they were a well-coached, disciplined and skilled team. We gave it our best today, we just weren't good enough in the end."

The Tigerettes were led by Karlye Wiser with 13 of the team's 21 points.

The Gators were led by Shaleigh Garner with 15 points and Summer Hill with 11.

The Gators came out of the gates on fire as Hill knocked down two treys for nine points in the opening frame and the Tigerettes managed only one Abby McGehee bucket and trailed 16-3 heading into the second quarter.

The Tigerettes chipped away at the lead in the next period as Wiser knocked down a 3-pointer and Israel Hurt scored on the inside to cut the lead to 20-8, but Garner nailed two triples in the last minute of the half and the lead ballooned to 26-8 at the break.

"We didn't take care of the ball well enough early to get enough quality looks to really stay with them," Coleman stated. "When we did get some quality looks in the first half, the second quarter especially, we just didn't knock them down."

The Tigerettes shooting woes continued into the third quarter as LMS went scoreless in the frame and the Gators added 10 more points to its total for the 36-8 lead heading into the final period.

Dionna Crutcher (3) attempts a second half 3-pointer over the outstretched arms of Summer Hill (5) during the fourth quarter of the Tigerettes 48-21 loss to North Franklin County Middle School.

Wiser found her shot in the fourth quarter as the eighth grade guard knocked down three triples for 10 points and Dionna Crutcher nailed a jumper as the Tigerettes outscored North Middle 13-12 in the frame, but it was too little too late and the Gators moved on to the second round.

"I love the way we fought back in the second half after we were down 20 plus we kept battling, we kept grinding," Coleman said. "I think that's symbolic of the team we and the season we had but we kind of dug ourselves a whole we just couldn't climb out of."

"Second straight solid season in a row and finishing 11-4 on the season is certainly something to be proud of," Coleman added. "We're proud of them and wish we could move on but today we faced a worthy opponent and got put out by a worthy opponent and there's no shame in that."

LMS 3 5 0 13-21

North Middle 16 10 10 12-48

LMS (21): Karlye Wiser 13, Israel Hurt 3, Dionna Crutcher 2, Abby McGehee 2, Sydney Tidwell 1

3-point goals (4): Wiser 4

North Middle (48): Shaleigh Garner 15, Summer Hill 11, Anna Stevenson 7, Shy Luttrell 7, Madison Partin 5, Jolie Bise 2, Kenna Hale 1

3-point goals (10): Garner 5, Hill 2, Stevenson, Luttrell, Partin

Halftime score: North Middle 26, LMS 8