By Les Dixon / Staff Writer
KNOX CENTRAL — An eight-minute second half dry spell on offense by Knox Central, combined with an 11-0 run by Lynn Camp that began in the third quarter and carried over into the fourth, allowed the Lady Wildcats to punch a berth into the 13th Region Tournament.
Lynn Camp overcame a five-point second half deficit and didn’t take its first lead of the game until the 1:21 mark of the third quarter before pulling off a 35-26 victory in the first round of the 51st District Tournament.
“I took a different approach and was even more relaxed, but we were just nervous out there,” Lynn Camp coach Richard Jones said. “I thought we came out better in the second half though.
“The first time we played them they took an eight-point lead on us and we had to come back,” he added. “I’m a little lost for words because I thought we would come out better than what we did. It just goes to show you when you come and play someone on their court, you better be ready to play. But the good thing is that we move on. This is the first time (in school history) that we will be playing in the region tournament in consecutive years.”
Knox Central (5-25) jumped out on the Lady Wildcats (22-6) just like the two teams’ regular season meeting, as baskets by Tory McCombs and Tyra McNeil gave the Lady Panthers an early 4-0 edge.
McNeil dominated the action early on the defensive side, blocking three shots while playing a big role in Lynn Camp’s one-of-14 shooting during the game’s first eight minutes.
Jones’ squad didn’t get on the scoreboard until the 3:41 mark of the period, and didn’t hit its first shot until Brooklyn Bryant connected with 2:55 remaining to cut the Lady Wildcats’ deficit to 7-3.
McCombs added a free throw to extend Knox Central’s lead to 8-3 at the end of the first quarter.
Knox Central opened the second quarter with an old-fashioned three-point play, via Mariah Barrett, who put her team ahead 11-3.
But that’s when the Lady Wildcats slowly came charging back.
May’s basket with 6:32 remaining triggered an 11-3 run that saw Lynn Camp tie the game at 14 apiece at halftime.
Both teams struggled shooting in the first half, as Knox Central connected on five-of-17 shot attempts while turning the ball over 11 times. Lynn Camp hit on only five-of-25 attempts and finished the first half with 11 miscues.
The Lady Panthers came out hot in the third quarter, as Hale connected with a jumper and a three-pointer, giving Knox Central a 19-14 edge with 7:01 remaining in the period.
But it didn’t take Lynn Camp long to erase its deficit.
A three-pointer by Heather Wilson and a free throw by Bryant made the score 19-18. Hale connected with a jumper to give the Lady Panthers a 21-18 edge, but that’s when the Lady Wildcats went on another run to take control of the game.
A free throw by May triggered a 7-0 run that allowed Lynn Camp to take a 25-21 advantage into the fourth quarter.
“That run was huge for us,” Jones said. “It allowed us to get back into the game.”
Merita Burke’s lay-in tied the game at 21 apiece with 2:29 left in the period while her second basket of the quarter gave her team the lead for good at 23-21.
Lynn Camp 35, Knox Central 26
Lynn Camp 3 11 11 10 – 35
Knox Central 8 6 7 5 – 26
Lynn Camp (35) – Wilson 9, Bryant 3, Burke 7, Miller 2, May 9, Hollin 5.
Knox Central (26) – McNeil 4, McCombs 5, Barrett 4, Hale 12, Pennington 1.
Lady Cats knock off Knox Central, advance to finals
By Les Dixon / Staff Writer
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