Ashley Cox converted two free throws with 5.4 seconds left in the game to give the Stone Memorial Lady Panthers a 51-50 win over the Fulton Lady Falcons to earn a berth in tonight's Region 2AA championship game at 7 p.m EST and a berth in Saturday's Class AA substate.
SMHS will play District 4AA regular season and tournament champion Loudon for the region championship. Loudon defeated Pigeon Forge 69-54 to make it an all District 4AA title game. SMHS lost both regular season meetings against the Lady Redskins and the district tournament championship game.
Loudon and SMHS advance into Saturday's substate action against either Grainger (31-2), 52-49 winners over Greeneville, or Chucky-Doak, who defeated South Greene in the Region 1AA semi-finals Monday night at Chucky-Doak.
The Lady Panthers (21-11) led 13-12 after one quarter, but the District 3AA champion Lady Falcons (26-3) outscored SMHS 13-5 in the second quarter for a 25-18 halftime advantage.
According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, the Lady Panthers trailed 34-25 midway in the third quarter, and finished the quarter with an 18-3 run to take a 43-37 lead.
Fulton used a 13-3 run to take a 50-46 lead with 1:35 remaining in the contest.
Julia Webb buried a trey with 55.4 ticks left to slice the deficit to 50-49.
The Lady Falcons had a turnover, missed a layup and missed the front end of a one-plus-one in the final 47 seconds, as the Lady Panthers outscored Fulton 18-3 in the final quarter for the victory.
Leading the way for the Lady Panthers were Nicole Hassler (five points, two assists, one rebound, two steals), Ashley Cox (14 points, seven assists, two rebounds, one steal), Riley Kennedy (one rebound), Julia Webb (15 points, eight rebounds, one block), Brooke Kennedy (two points, one assist, two rebounds, one steal), Courtney White (zero points), Tessa Cokkinias (one assist, seven rebounds, one steal) and Morgan Bridges (15 points, two assists, six rebounds, one block).