Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Area Sports

February 27, 2012

Lady Jets earn berth in Region 3AAA semifinals; Jets season ends Saturday

It was "home sweet dome" for the CCHS Lady Jets Friday night, as they rallied from a 14-point first-half deficit to defeat the Cleveland Lady Raiders in the Raider Dome in the first round of the Region 3AAA Tournament 57-51, but it was a different story for the Jets Saturday night, as they dropped a 60-47 decision to the McMinn County Cherokees to end the season with an 18-15 record.

The victory sent the Lady Jets (18-14) into the region semi-finals Monday night against White County, 42-34 winners over District 5AAA fourth-seed Rhea County, while District 5AAA champion Bradley Central defeated Warren County 77-35 to play Coffee County, 52-37 winners over Walker Valley. The Bradley Central-Coffee County game opened play Monday night at CCHS.

Since the 2008-'09 season, the Lady Jets win at Cleveland was the third-straight against  Cleveland in the Dome. CCHS defeated Cleveland 73-67 in the region semi-finals and 48-39 in the district semi-finals. During the '08-'09 regular season, Cleveland beat CCHS 48-40 and 54-51.

CCHS 57, Cleveland 51: "The turning point of the game was at halfitme. We basically looked at the seniors and told them, if they continued at this pace with the effort you are giving, every one of you will regret this the rest of  your life. There is no tomorrow if you lose," said Coach Radhika Miller.

"In the first half, they worried what they were doing. In the second half, they focused on the way we were headed," added Miller.

The Lady Jets started off slow, hitting three of 13 from the field with five  turnovers in the first quarter to trail 12-6 after one quarter. Taylor Vaden had four of CCHS' points, while Tori Noel had two.

Sydney Anderson had five points for the Lady Raiders, who were five of 11 from the field. Qetuwrah Abdullah-Muhammad addded four points.

CCHS' shooting woes continued in the second quarter, hitting three of 13 from the field, to trail by as much as 14 points (26-12, 28-14 and 30-16), but Sloane VanWinkle sliced the lead to 30-19 by quarter's end.

For the half, CCHS was six of 16 from the field with eight turnovers, while Cleveland was 10 of 25 with six turnovers.

Norizah Berry and Anderson each had 10 points for the Lady Raiders, while Vaden had 10 first-half points, including four of five free throws.

After Vaden missed a charity toss in the first quarter, the Lady Jets hit six straight free throws in the second quarter to keep the game close.

The Lady Jets come out the locker room after the half on fire, hitting eight of 20 from the field  and two from the charity stripe to outscore the Lady Raiders 21-8 to take a 40-38 lead. Three of the Lady Jet seniors — Lauren Sliger, Jaclyn Reagan and Vaden — tallied seven, six and six points respectively to spark the Lady Jets.

The Lady Jets' defense held the Lady Raiders to four of 10 from the field with five turnovers.

Two Berry NBA-range treys tied the game at 44-44 with five minutes left in the contest, but a steal for a layup by Reagan gave the Lady Jets the lead for good at 46-44. The Lady Jets hit 11 of 14 throws in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.

During one stretch of the game, CCHS hit 16 straight  free throws, and the Lady Jet defense forced 13 Lady Raider turnovers in the second half.

Vaden hit nine of 11 free throws, while Reagan was two for four. Both Sliger and Rebecca Teeple were four of four.

CCHS was 17 of 51 from the field and 19 of 23 from the charity stripe, while holding Cleveland to 18 of 46 from the floor and eight of 14 from the free throw line with 19 turnovers.

Leading the Lady Jets were Gina Dick (no points), Brandi Green (two rebounds, two assists), VanWinkle (three points, five rebounds), Sliger (13 points, four points, two steals), Vaden (23 points, 11 rebounds, one assist), Teeple (four points, 12 rebounds, one assist, two steals), Noel (two points, one rebound) and Reagan (12 points, two rebounds, two assists, one steal).

"Lauren had a great game, and really gave us a spark in the fourth quarter," added Miller.

McMinn County 60, CCHS 47: The Cherokees, who finished third in District 5AAA, placed three players in double figures — Quinton Versa (15 points), Brandon Davis (13 points) and Taylor Hicks (16 points), and play District 5AAA champion Bradley Central Tuesday at 6 p.m. at CCHS in the region semifinals.

Tayler Houston led the Jets (18-15) with 29 points and six rebounds, followed by Dylan Qualls (10 points, two rebounds), J. J. Miller (three rebounds, one steal), Donovan O'Rourke (no points), Todd Threet (two points, four rebounds, one assist), Diego Poore (two rebounds, one assist), Steven Hill (two rebounds), Logan Parsons (six points, four rebounds, two steals), Dakota Rucke (seven rebounds) and Cameron O'Rourke (no points).

CCHS' offense was never in sync, hitting two of 11 from the field  in the first quarter to trail 12-5. Houston buried the first of his nine treys in the quarter, while Qualls had the other two markers. The Jets committed eight turnovers.

McMinn County was five of seven from the floor with six turnovers.

McMinn County led by as much as nine points in the second quarter, hitting seven of 16 from the floor with two turnovers, but each team tallied 17 points with the Cherokees leading 29-22 at the break.

Houston had 14 points in the second quarter for the Jets, who were five of 10 from the field with five miscues. Threet was two for two from the charity stripe.

McMinn County opened the third quarter with a 10-0 run for a 39-29 lead, but CCHS behind two treys by Houston finished the quarter with a 7-6 run to slice the deficit to 45-36. Qualls added five points.

McMinn County hit 11 of 15 free throws in the fourth quarter to outscore CHS 15-11 for the final margin of 60-47. The Jets were three of 15 from the field, two three pointers by Houston and one by Parsons.

The numbers tell the story.

CCHS was 13 of 46 from the field, including nine of 32 from long range, with 19 turnovers and 31 rebounds. Committing more turnovers than field goals is not a good stat.

McMinn County was 20 of 44 from the field with 12 turnovers.

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