As it turned out, the Lady Rebels had a little more ammunition than the Lady Cougars.
Natalie Pickwell and Samantha Williams combined for 47 points, offsetting Whitney Moody’s 32-point outburst and keeping South’s season alive thanks to a 72-59 victory.
Moody scored 20 points in the first half alone, knocking down a 3-pointer in the closing seconds to tie the score at 30 heading into halftime.
During the break, South’s two seniors decided they weren’t quite ready for their prep careers to end.
“(Moody) had 20 in the first half and I was guarding her,” Pickwell said. “I felt like it was my fault.”
After scoring just six points in the first half, Pickwell came out and scored 17 in the second half, including a string of baskets that helped South push its lead to double digits in the early stages of the fourth quarter.
Williams also picked up the pace, scoring 13 of her team-high 24 points after halftime. Many of those came from the foul line during the final two minutes as the Lady Rebels secured their berth into the semifinals.
“Sam literally willed us to that win,” South coach Josh Tate said. “There was no way we were going to lose because Sam wouldn’t let us lose.”
Meanwhile, the Lady Rebels did a better job on Moody in the second half, holding the junior to 12 points in the final 16 minutes.
Erika Blizard managed 11 points for the Lady Cougars (13-16), but South held the rest of Central’s roster to a combined 16 points.
Makensey Campbell and Grace Collins had 10 points each for South (21-6).
Central coach Gary Surcey said there was little more his team could have done to slow down the Lady Rebels.
“They battled hard and did everything we asked them to,” he said of his team. “(South) is a good team and they played well.”
Third-seeded South moves on to face Science Hill on Friday night.
The Lady Hilltoppers weathered a second-half run by Sullivan East, pulling away to a 76-56 victory thanks to an effective transition game.
Science Hill built a 12-point lead at the half, but East whittled the advantage to three with 2:23 left in the third quarter.
The Lady Hilltoppers quickly regrouped, ripping off a 10-0 run to push the lead into double digits for good.
Science Hill coach Darrell Barnwell said it’s always hard to put away a team staring elimination squarely in the face.
“These games are always tough but I thought the kids responded very well,” he said. “We did what we needed to do to get past the first-round game — the goal is to survive and advance.”
The Lady Hilltoppers forced 24 turnovers, creating many opportunities to score fast-break baskets.
Johneshia Good and Jaimee Hill capitalized in the open court and finished with 16 points each for Science Hill (21-9). Jordan Douglas chipped in 10 points for the Lady Hilltoppers while Jasmine Foster had eight despite fouling out.
Lindsay Loudermilk had a strong showing for East (7-23), scoring a game-high 17 points. Sarah Barham scored 14 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to record a double-double while Kelsey Trivett chipped in 12 points for the Lady Patriots.