Boone girls blaze trail into 1-AAA title game

Dave Ongie • Feb 19, 2007 at 11:27 AM

Sullivan South's Samantha Williams (42) works the ball against the Tennessee High defense during Monday's District 1-AAA semifinal game at Viking Hall in Bristol, Tenn. Photo by Erica Yoon.


BRISTOL, Tenn. - The Daniel Boone Lady Trailblazers spent the regular season treading water, but they've done everything short of walking on it so far in the District 1-AAA tournament.

Boone's improbable tournament run continued with a 68-50 semifinal trouncing of second-seeded Science Hill on Monday at Viking Hall.

The Lady Trailblazers' win set up a familiar matchup. Boone will face off against Tennessee High for the sixth year in a row in tonight's district championship game.

Tennessee High advanced to the title game, which will start at about 7:45 p.m., by beating Sullivan South 59-38.

Boone and Tennessee High both will host first-round games in the Region 1-AAA tournament later this week since the two schools have locked up the top two seeds from the district.

The Lady Trailblazers came out on fire against the Hilltoppers, knocking down five 3-pointers in the first quarter - the last of which was a 30-foot buzzer-beater by Autumn Gillis that left her hand somewhere near the outskirts of Bluff City.

When the shot found the bottom of the net, Boone had a 21-10 lead going into the second quarter.

"I wondered what kind of night it was going to be when Gillis hit that one," Science Hill coach Darrell Barnwell said.

It turned out to be more of the same in the second quarter. Boone (17-15) extended its lead to 22 points, shooting 55 percent from the floor in the first half.

Caroline Deakins, who hit four 3s in the first half, said the Lady Trailblazers couldn't wait to get back on the floor after the semifinal contest was postponed due to weather.

"We were ready to play on Saturday," Deakins said. "It just gave us more time to get that much more ready to play."

Boone coach Tim Campbell said he could tell his players were champing at the bit following their upset of Dobyns-Bennett last week.

"When I had to call them and tell them we weren't playing, it was like Christmas without the presents," Campbell said.

Science Hill (24-8) finally responded in the second half, but the Lady Hilltoppers never got closer than 13 points.

"We battled a lot better in the second half, but we were too far down," Barnwell said. "We didn't have as much intensity as Boone had."

Deakins and Holly Nickels led Boone's balanced attack with 19 points each. Nickels also had 12 rebounds to notch a double-double.

Megan Caldwell pitched in with 12 points while Kaitlin Harmon added 11.

Johneshia Good and Emma McMillian paced Science Hill with 13 points each.

While Boone thrived with a couple days off, Tennessee High struggled to shake off the rust after a 10-day break.

The Lady Vikings led by just two points at halftime before outscoring Sullivan South 36-17 in the second half to earn the win.

"Having the layoff was a concern," Tennessee High coach Kim Bright said. "Then we had the delay and I thought in the first half we didn't play our kind of game."

The Lady Vikings (26-5) picked things up by dominating inside, outscoring the Lady Rebels 42-14 in the paint and outrebounding them 35-27.

Tennessee High picked up the defensive intensity as well, holding South (16-13) to 29.4 percent shooting for the game.

Danielle Montgomery led the Lady Vikings with 16 points, seven rebounds and seven steals. Natalie Pickwell paced the Lady Rebels with 15 points.

South will face off against Science Hill today at 6 p.m. in third-place game.

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