By Ed Greif
The Cumberland County High School Lady Jets hit 11 of 16 free throws in a 25-17 fourth-quarter rally to defeat the White County Warriorettes 52-47 to claim the District 6AAA basketball tournament crown Wednesday night at Cookeville High School.
The Lady Jets (26-4) will host Cleveland tonight at 7 in the opening round of the Region 3AAA Tournament, with the winner advancing into Monday night's semi-final against the Cookeville/McMinn County winner at Cookeville High School.
The large contingent of fans from Cumberland County saw the Lady Jets trail 6-0 early in the first quarter, but Destiny Carlton triggered a 6-0 run to knot the score at 6-6. The two teams exchanged points the remainder of the quarter, until a trey by Gina Dick gave CCHS a 10-8 lead by quarter's end.
The Lady Jets were four of 14 from the field with three turnovers, while White County was three of 11. Courtney Smith came off the bench to haul down five rebounds for the Lady Jets, while Dick had five points.
There were five lead changes and five ties in the second quarter, as White County outscored CCHS 10-9 to knot the score at 19-19 at halftime. Both teams were cold from the field — CCHS, four of 13, and WCHS, four of 11.
The same scenario occurred in the third quarter — three lead changes and two ties, before White County took a 30-27 advantage by quarter's end. CCHS was four of 12 from the field, while White County was four ofnine, as both teams controlled the tempo of the game.
A jumper by Bella Taylor gave the Warriorettes a 32-27 early fourth-quarter lead, but Carlton, as the Jet student body called "that's our freshman, scored a basket after an offensive rebound and two free throws to start a 8-0 run to give the Lady Jets a 35-32 advantage with under five minutes left in the contest.
With the score tied 37-37, Iles buried a trey on a pass from Kelsie Eldridge to give the Lady Jets the lead for good, followed by steal for a lay-up by Rebekah Teeple for a 42-37 advantage with 1:28 left in the contest.
At that point, White County committed five straight fouls to put the Lady Jets at the free throw line. Dick converted two freebies for a 44-37 lead with 1:15 left.
After Taylor scored the next four points for the Warriorettes to slice the lead to 44-41, a three-point play by Teeple with 45.4 seconds left gave CCHS a 47-41 lead. The Lady Jets converted five of eight free throws in the 31.6 to seal the championship.
Carlton, Iles, Teeple and Dick were named to the All-Tournament team. Dick was the tournament MVP.
Leading the way for the Lady Jets were Iles (six points, four rebounds, one assist, two steals), Dick (15 points, four rebounds, three assists, three steals), Alli Hyder (two points, one steal), Carlton (13 ponts, four rebounds, two assists, six steals), Victoria Lee (three rebounds), Teeple (eight points, five rebounds, one steal), Klaire Varney (four rebounds, one assist, three steals), Eldridge (two points, one rebound, one assist) and Smith (six points, seven rebounds). Skylar VanWinkle also played.
Tip-off for tonight's region opener at CCHS is at 7 p.m. There will be no reserve seats and no county passes will be honored. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. CCHS defeated Cleveland twice during the regular season.