Lady Bucs excorcise demons, beat Rossview
CLARKSVILLE – This time last season, the Beech Lady Bucs’ season came to an end following a loss at Rossview in the quarterfinal round of the Region 5-AAA Tournament. Fast forward 365 days to the same gym against the same opponent, however, this time the results were different.
Clutch free throws from Kennedy Powell and Jana Claire Swafford secured the Lady Bucs’ 51-41 quarterfinal win at Rossview Friday night in Clarksville.
The Lady Bucs entered the bonus with 1:57 remaining in the game after they built a four-point 38-34 lead following a comeback after and 8-1 run gave Rossview its first lead since the first quarter.
From there, Beech sank 13 of 18 shots from the charity stripe, including a 9-of-12 sharpshooting performance from Powell.
Defensively, the Lady Bucs were good all night, forcing Rossview into 19 turnovers and limiting them to zero offensive rebounds and just three made 3-pointers. Rossview point guard Macy Rippy was a focal point for Beech.
“We knew we had to stop Rippy’s penetration and I thought Shiya and Mia did a great job of doing that,” Beech coach Kristi Utley said. “We knew we had to stop her driving ability. Our full-court press initiated everything because we wanted to make her work as much as she had to. Doing that, we thought, after making her work that much once she finally does get down to her end of the floor she would be tired.”
Beech opened the game in a 3-2 zone, but a few open 3s from Rossview in the opening quarter forced Utley to move back to a traditional man-to-man defense.
“Holley Sellers got some open 3s early and that is the reason I had to go back to man,” Utley said. “We had been really practicing our 3-2, but I thought we may be a little stronger in our man defense once we get our help.”
At the end of eight minutes, Beech found itself down 15-14 in a quarter that saw two ties and two lead changes. It didn’t take the Lady Bucs long to extend their biggest lead of the first half to eight points following a 13-4 run to start the quarter.
Rossview trimmed the deficit to four at the break, 27-23. The Lady Hawks jumped back in front for the first time since the first quarter following a 6-1 run to start the third, but their lead didn’t last long as back-to-back stops and consecutive buckets to end the third pushed Beech back in front, 34-31.
Dean and Hoosier normally carry the Bucs on the offensive end, but tonight it was the scoring efforts of Powell and Savannah Jarrett that helped propel the Lady Bucs to victory. Jarrett finished the game with 12 points, all coming in the paint.
“She is a post player that anytime we face someone that isn’t as mobile as her, she is the one you really want in there,” Utley said of Jarrett. “She is a guard playing the post.”
Beech (24-8) entered the game as District 9-AAA’s No. 3 seed following a defeat to Lebanon in the consolation game of the District 9-AAA Tournament last week.
The Lady Hawks finished second in District 10-AAA after falling to Henry County in their district’s championship game.
“It was combination of everything tonight,” Utley said. “We knew we were going to have to put a total package together to get this W. That is what the girls did, they went out and believed.”
The victory is just one of four games that saw District 9-AAA sweep District 10-AAA, meaning Monday night’s Region 5-AAA semifinals against Mt. Juliet will be a third installment this season between the two teams. The rubber match will take place at 6 p.m. at Mt. Juliet on Monday, Feb. 26.
“No, I’m not surprised,” Utley said when asked if she was surprised 9-AAA took all four games. “We are a strong district and that’s what I tell everybody. We battle every night and we’ve got a battle again, but I’m proud of this district.”
Beech (51): Kennedy Powell 18, Savannah Jarrett 12, Mia Dean 11, Shiya Hoosier 6, JC Swafford 3, Kendra Mueller 1
Rossview (41): Madison Hash 9, Macy Rippy 8, Kayla Gilmore 8, Holly Sellers 6, Courtney Daniels 6, Madison Balance 4