The Cumberland County High School Lady Jets defeated the McMinn County Lady Cherokees 80-62 in the semi-finals of the District 5AAA Tournament Tuesday night at Bradley Central to earn a berth into tonight's championship game against Cleveland, 62-49 winners over Bradley Central.

The third-ranked Lady Jets split their two regular season contests, winning at home 64-58 and losing 82-78 in double overtime at Cleveland.

"It was a heck of a game. It is hard to defeat a team three times in a season," said CCHS Coach Tim Smith, whose team improved to 28-3 overall to match last season's win total (28).

"We let the game get too close. We hit 16 of 22 free throws in the fourth quarter,' said Casha Foster, who led the Lady Jets with 18 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Added teammate Lauren Elmore, "We came out a little flat. We picked it up in the second quarter. We shot well from the free throw line when it counted."

Elmore contributed 14 points with seven boards, one assist and two steals, while Erica Martin added 14 points, including three treys, and Lindsay Smith pitched in 16 markers.

The Lady Jets were 18 of 45 from the field and 25 of 33 from the free throw line with 16 turnovers.

Shonda Smith led the Lady Cherokees with 24 points, while Niala Harris and Leah Frazier added 18 and 11 markers, respectively.

McMinn County built a 12-5 lead with 5:25 left in the first quarter, but the Lady Jets, behind Foster's nine points, took a 21-20 lead late in the stanza; however, Ashley Crittenden's jumper with seconds left put the Lady Cherokees ahead 22-21.

CCHS was eight of 14 from the field, while McMinn County was nine of 13.

McMinn County stretched the lead to 28-23 midway through the second quarter, but Martin's second trey of the game sent the Lady Jets on a 15-5 run for a 38-33 advantage at the break.

The Lady Jets were seven of 11 from the field, while McMinn County was four of 13 with three turnovers.

CCHS put on an offensive show in the third quarter, hitting seven of 14 from the field and seven of seven from the charity stripe to outscore the Lady Cherokees 24-16 for a 62-44 advantage.

Smith had eight markers for the Lady Jets.

McMinn County's trio of Smith, Frazier and Harris were nine of 16 from the field to slice the Lady Jets' lead to 69-64 midway through the final stanza.

CCHS was just one of six from the field with six turnovers in the final stanza, as they were outscored 24-18. The lone basket was by Henry as time wound down in the contest.

The Lady Jets were 16 of 22 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter, while McMinn County was five of seven to the dismay of the Lady Cherokee fans.

Cumberland County will play either Chattanooga Central or Ooltewah Monday, Feb. 27, at 3:30 p.m. CST or Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 3:30 p.m. in the Region 3AAA Tournament at Red Bank.

Both the first-place and fourth-place girls and boys teams play on Monday, with the second- and third-place teams playing on Tuesday.

The girls' semifinals are Wednesday, March 1, at 5 p.m. and 6;30 p.m. CST, with the girls championship at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, March 2.

Scoring summary

McMinn County (68): Caster 5, Mooney 6, Smith 24, Frazier 11, Harris 18, Crittenden 2.

CCHS (80): Smith 16, Brown 3, Foster 18, Henry 9, Martin 14, Elmore 14, Dishman 0, Bowman 0, Hood 5.

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