By Ed Greif
The Stone Memorial Lady Panthers defeated the Dade County Lady Wolverines 53-23 to claim fifth place in the Jon Loden Christmas Classic at Midway High School Monday afternoon.
"We played hard on defense. We executed what we tried to do. We played well in the tournament," said Lady Panther Coach John Walker. "Upperman has a very good team. Midway has a very good team. Dade County has been traditionally a good team. We rebounded well which allowed us to get into our transition game."
The Lady Panthers built a 9-2 first-quarter lead on a layup and steal by Courtney White. After a layup by Lauren Breeden sliced the lead to 9-4, but SMHS finished the quarter with a 7-4 run for a 17-6 advantage.
White finished the first quarter with six points for the Lady Panthers, who were seven of 18 from the field, while holding the Lady Wolverines to three of seven with 13 turnovers.
Three-point baskets by Bailey Rutledge, Abby Griffin and Jordan Thompson keyed a 13-2 spurt that gave the Lady Panthers a 30-8 advantage; however, two layups by Dade County sliced the deficit to 30-12 at the break.
SMHS was five of 14 from the field, while holding Dade County to two of nine with seven turnovers. White had four first-half steals for the Lady Panthers.
Both teams' offenses struggled in the third quarter, as both teams tallied eight points, with the Lady Panthers maintaining a 38-20 advantage. SMHS was two of 15, while Dade County was two of six with five more turnovers. Jacki Livesay and Griffin each buried three-point baskets for the Lady Panathers.
A 15-3 fourth quarter gave the Lady Panthers the 53-23 fifth-place finish in the annual tournament at the Roane County school.
Walker and assistant Taylor Denny were able to play all 13 Lady Panthers dressed for the tournament. All 13 contributed to the victory.
Statistical leaders were Tiffany Cokkinias (six points, five rebounds, three assists, five steals), Jordan Thompson (five points, one steal), Kirsten Potter (two rebounds, one assist, four steals), Jacki Livesay (eight markers, one rebound, one assist, four steals), Lacey Melton (three points, five rebounds, one assist), Riley Hunt (three rebounds, one steal), Abby Griffin (six points, one rebound, one assist, one steal), Bailey Rutledge (nine points, two rebounds, one assist, three steals), Courtney White (eight points, three rebounds, two assists, six steals), Sidney Early (one rebound), Brittany Brun (three points, one steal), Sam Gray (one point, one rebound, one assist) and Hailey Coudriet (four points).
Schedule: The Lady Panthers and Panthers will open the new year today, beginning at 3 p.m., and then travel to former District 4AA foe Alcoa tomorrow at 3 p.m.